I missed the succession of storms that battered Britain in mid-February, although the end of the month has still had a largely breezy and westerly theme. This has meant local birding during the last seven days has been steady. March beckons though, and with it spring excitement …
|Great Crested Grebes.|
Up to 20 Mandarin flew north over the garden at dusk.
It was bright and frosty at Frensham this morning, where 44 species were noted in an hour-long session. Three each of Shoveler and Pochard were on the Great Pond, where two Water Rails were calling from the eastern reedbed. Marsh Tit, Kingfisher and two Firecrests were noted near the Outlet Pond.
No observations of note today.
A Red-legged Partridge at Eashing Farm and a Little Egret over Godalming were noted en route to the Lammas Lands, where a sunny and chilly morning greeted me. Water levels were the highest they've been this winter but Snipe numbers were still low, with a mere six noted. Eight Reed Buntings was a good total and two each of Stonechat and Grey Wagtail were also seen.
Unstead Water Meadows was quiet, with the highlight a singing Skylark over Upper Unstead Farm – only my second here and the first I've had in song. Other bits included singles of Little Egret and Reed Bunting and an interacting Kestrel pair.
I was able to do a walk along the river mid-afternoon, by which time it was veritably spring-like. A displaying pair of Buzzards and a male Kestrel were eclipsed by a Peregrine soaring over Greenways Farm – a nice surprise so close to home. A Bullfinch pair, a singing Grey Wagtail, two Red-legged Partridges and a flyover Linnet were also noted.
Despite the sunny forecast the dreaded 'Thursley mist' caught me out this morning, and a two-hour session was spent with poor visibility and a chilly frost. As a result, 44 species wasn't bad and included 14 Egyptian Geese on Pudmore – possibly a new record count for Thursley. Three Water Rails (including two singing males), a Snipe and a Tufted Duck pair were also noted here. Despite the conditions a few signs of spring could be detected, including a Great Crested Grebe back on Forked Pond and an increase in Stonechats (with some males in song).
A bright but cold and windy morning. Despite the conditions, a dawn check of Tuesley produced the first proper moment of spring migration. First, a group of Lesser Black-backed Gulls cruised north-east – a species virtually absent locally in the winter. Then, the familiar call of a Curlew was heard multiple times as an unseen bird moved in a northward direction. A lovely little spell and a nice early start to wader migration here.
I then walked Enton Lakes, where a decent selection of waterbirds included four Gadwall, a single drake Pochard and a flyover Kingfisher. A group of six Lesser Redpolls were in a mixed Siskin and Goldfinch flock at the north end.