Godalming area birds

Godalming area birds


Wednesday, 15 June 2022

Close season

It's been a quiet first half of June, as spring has gently converted to summer. The dawn chorus is much reduced, juvenile birds are ever more evident and the days are long and warm. Surrey did in fact have a rather barnstorming few days at the start of the month in terms of rarities, but action in south-west Surrey was limited during this period and most of my sessions have been steady.


Monday 30th May

My first local session in nearly two weeks took place at Chiddingfold Forest after work, where two each of Nightingale and Garden Warbler were in song despite the rainy weather. Marsh Tit and Firecrest were also noted, while Swift and House Martin represented unexpected site firsts for me.

Tuesday 31st May

No birding.

Wednesday 1st June

No birding.

Thursday 2nd June

It was sunny and mild at Shackleford this morning, where 41 species was a good June total. The highlight was a Reed Warbler singing from deep blackthorn cover, marking my just about annual incongruous reedy record locally (and also only my second here). A Cuckoo flew east over, fittingly, Cuckoo Corner, the Stonechat pair had at least one juvenile in tow and some 200 Starlings were roving around.

The afternoon gardening was abruptly interrupted by a message and a flying trip up the A3 to Walton. Here, Chris T had pulled out a monster find: Surrey's second Lesser Yellowlegs, and a spanking summer-plumage bird to boot. The bird was settled and we enjoyed great views as it fed persistently along the shore, even performing the occasional short flight and vocalisation. 

Absolutely mega – number 229 for me in the vice-county. An amazing footnote: this bird was photographed at Frankfield Loch, Clyde, two days later. The wonders of migration and vagrancy!

Lesser Yellowlegs.

A Ringed Plover and a leucistic Starling (which briefly got the heart rate up!) were also noted, along with plenty of familiar faces.

Friday 3rd June

My first visit to Thursley for two-and-a-half weeks was a pleasant affair under warm, sunny skies. The Curlew pair pleasingly had two chicks in tow on Ockley, looking about a week old – fingers crossed for full fledging. Lapwing and Snipe were also noted, along with Spotted Flycatcher in Spur Wood, a female Redstart taking food into a nest hole, a flyover Siskin and two wonderfully showy Hobbies over Shrike Hill.

Hobbies and displaying Tree Pipit.

Saturday 4th June

No birding.

Sunday 5th June

No birding.

Monday 6th June

A catch-up with Matt, Abel and Sam in the evening included quiet visits to Waltham Brooks and Amberley Wildbrooks, with the two released immature White-tailed Eagles seen from the Rackham viewpoint at the latter site.

Tuesday 7th June

I walked Shackleford before work, with the most notable observation a flock of nearly 300 gulls – a really high count for the local area, especially in the summer. No fewer than 17 were Lesser Black-backed Gulls, marking my biggest-ever on the deck tally of this species in south-west Surrey. One of them – a second-summer – was bearing a red ring on its right tarsus but I couldn't get close enough to read it.

Red-ringed Lesser Black-backed Gull.

Wednesday 8th June

Hobby became a welcome addition to my 1 km year list during a pre-work walk around Eashing Fields, where at least seven Skylarks were counted – presumably displaced from recently cut arable fields in the local area. 

Thursday 9th June

Thursley was quiet this morning though there were positive signs coming from the breeding waders: the Lapwings were being particularly aggressive towards the local Carrion Crows (I suspect a nest is nearby), the Curlew pair were still marshalling their two chicks around and two male Snipe were singing.

Lapwing and Redstart.

I walked along the river mid-afternoon. A Little Egret over Eashing Marsh was a surprise – I wonder where the nearest breeding site to Godalming is? A Spotted Flycatcher was in song and a group of six Red Kites enjoyed a thermal together under the increasingly grey skies.

Friday 10th June

No birding.

Saturday 11th June

No birding.

Sunday 12th June

A Palmate Newt was an unexpected garden visitor in the afternoon.

Monday 13th

A long walk along the river this morning produced 55 species – a rather typical midsummer haul. A Hobby flew upriver at Unstead Water Meadows, where both Sedge and Reed Warblers were in song and the female Stonechat carefully gathered horse hair from the paddocks, presumably to line the nest ahead of a second brood.

Female Stonechat.

At the Lammas Lands a Reed Warbler was a surprise on Catteshall Meadow – a first for me here. A Lesser Black-backed Gull (presumably one of the Farncombe breeders) flew over and both Stonechat and Reed Bunting were carrying food. 

Two Garden Warblers were noted along the Eashing stretch, which was otherwise quiet

Garden Warbler and Green Woodpecker.

Tuesday 14th

Cuckoo, Tawny Owl, Nightingale, Spotted Flycatcher and two Willow Warblers (including a mixed singer) were among the species in song at Chiddingfold Forest this morning. Young Firecrests and Marsh Tits were nice to see, but the highlight was a female and fawn Muntjac that pottered about on a track for a short while before disappearing into the understory.


Wednesday 15th

My first Marbled White of the year was on the wing at Eashing Fields at lunchtime, where a family party of Linnets were in The Meadow.

No comments: