Godalming area birds

Godalming area birds


Wednesday, 22 July 2020

Feels like August

It’s been an action-packed week and a bit since my last post. As seems to be the vibe nationally among local and patch birders, autumn seems to be arriving early and many visits have both felt like and delivered birds more in keeping with August. The weather must be something to do with it – otherwise, I suppose it’s either been a particularly good or bad breeding season. 

What can only be described as scenes in this part of Surrey ... three of
five Dunlin (including one that seemed to be missing an eye!) that
dropped by during excellent wader conditions on Sunday.

Waders have been the real theme, with the private site near Milford delivering a veritable bounty of shorebirds these past nine days (although sadly no south-west Surrey year ticks). With things a bit busy at the moment, this post will be more of a photo diary than a blog, but I’ll try and fit everything in …

Whimbrel is a mighty hard bird on the deck around here ...

... as is Oystercatcher. Both were present at dawn on different days this
week, in seemingly sub-optimum wader conditions. Neither lingered.

This juvenile Little Ringed Plover was the 13th wader species I've had at
the site and the 9th this year. I wonder how far away it was born?

Persistent drizzle, poor visibility and a breezy northerly wind did the
business on Sunday – this Greenshank that shot straight through was
part of an excellent haul, including the five Dunlin, two Redshank,
Common Gull and four Common Sandpipers.

Some of the other aforementioned birds from Sunday ...

... And a Redshank from earlier in the week. Amazingly, I've had four
there this month, making it five in total this year.

It's not only been about waders this week, though. This juvenile Goshawk
is just the latest proof that this fearsome Accipiter is thriving in outer Surrey.

Another juvenile of an elusive and hard-to-see
species: Grasshopper Warbler.

My first proper autumn passerine came this morning in the shape of
this juvenile Whinchat at Shackleford – the fourth the site has hosted this
year. I also had my first Shackleford Spotted Flycatchers.

Two strictly non-breeding season species have been back at Shackleford,
too, with a few Stonechats and this family of Ring-necked Parakeets my
  first for the site since early April.

Pleasingly, Teal have been proven to have bred at Thursley Common
this year, with a family of four on Pudmore at present (although elusive).
Dave suspected there was a pair nesting at Birchy Pond back in May.

Some other bits from Thursley visits. The Kingfisher at Forked Pond was,
 along with Great Crested Grebe, a Thursley tick for me on Monday.

Some non-native delights from the patch, at Bonhurst Farm. The Little
Owl is part of the regular pair, but it's the first time I've actually laid eyes on
 the species anywhere since February.

And now for something completely different ... Josh and I visited
Salisbury Plain to interview the Bustard Project guys yesterday. The
rather extraordinary sight of two female Great Bustards with chicks,
in Spanish-like open grassland, was quite unexpected. It's quite
fascinating down there – I'll be writing a piece on it in an upcoming
Birdwatch edition.

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