Wednesday, 31 December 2008

31st December 2008

2 Goosanders, 4 Pochards, a Tufted Duck, a Kingfisher, a Fieldfare and a small flock of Siskins were present at the lakes during the afternoon (P. Walkden, BirdForum/blog).

Monday, 29 December 2008

29th December 2008

During the early afternoon, I checked the field in which I'd seen Golden Plovers and Lapwings on previous occasions, but there were just 2 Stock Doves present on the ground there. For anyone who's interested in checking out this field, its location can be found here. I've been scanning it from the entrance to the Hungry Horse along Norton Lane.
I saw 30+ Siskins in trees along Valley Road (viewed from the northern edges of Engine Pool and Windmill Pool). At the lakes, the Greylag Goose was still present, along with 3+ Tufted Ducks. There were 4 Pochards (seemed to be the same birds seen on the 23rd) at Windmill Pool, with 1 Treecreeper seen and 1 Nuthatch heard around the edges; whilst 1 Kingfisher was seen at Engine Pool. Yet again it was quite dark by the time I reached Terry's Pool - I really should visit Earlswood earlier during these short winter days.
I don't expect to visit Earlswood again this year. I hope anyone who's been following this blog has had a good birding year, and I wish you all a good birding year in 2009. May I also take this opportunity to repeat my request for past and present records of all birds, common or rare, seen at Earlswood; please send any records with your name to
M.P. Griffiths

Thursday, 25 December 2008

25th December 2008

Visited New Fallings Coppice and the lakes during the afternoon, but there was little of note around. I did see 3 Cormorants at Terry's Pool; as well as a Tufted Duck and a Greylag Goose at Engine Pool. There was no sign of any Pochards.
M.P. Griffiths

Tuesday, 23 December 2008

23rd December 2008

During the afternoon, I saw 120 Lapwings, 40 Starlings, 1 Kestrel, 3 Stock Doves and 2 Feral Pigeons in fields in the area. Although many birders would've ignored the Feral Pigeons, I thought it was interesting seeing them foraging in a field as I'd always wondered if other people's records of this species at Earlswood were of free-flying domestic birds, solely dependent on their owner(s) for providing food and shelter. Perhaps the pair that I saw were domestic pigeons; but, unless their owner hadn't fed them, why else would they be searching for food in a field, in the open? I have therefore decided to add Feral Pigeon to the systematic list of birds recorded at Earlswood, for the moment at least, thus bringing the list's total to 190+ now. Once again, I didn't reach the lakes 'til the late afternoon, but did see 4 Pochards, 1 Tufted Duck and 1 Kingfisher at Windmill Pool; and a second Tufted Duck and 3 Cormorants at Engine Pool. I didn't see the Mute Swan or any Golden Plover.
M.P. Griffiths

Wednesday, 17 December 2008

17th December 2008

Although I was at Earlswood from the late morning to the evening today, I spent much of my time looking in fields in the area and was rewarded with sightings of 117 Lapwings, 28 Golden Plovers, 6 Stock Doves, 19 Fieldfares, 40+ Redwings, 2 Song Thrushes, 1 Mistle Thrush and 9+ Starlings. This shows that some good birds can be seen at other parts of Earlswood besides the lakes and SSSI. It was quite late in the day when I reached the lakes, and it was too dark to see birds by the time I'd got to Terry's Pool. However, I did see a young Mute Swan, a Greylag Goose, a male Teal, 2 Tufted Ducks, a Cormorant and 1+ Kingfisher at the other two pools.
M.P. Griffiths

Tuesday, 9 December 2008

9th December 2008

There was little of note at the lakes during the late afternoon, with even the common waterbird species being rather low in numbers. My best sighting was a Kingfisher along the canal feeder (north of Engine Pool), which at one point I saw dive into the water.
Although just outside Earlswood, I saw a flock of 12 Stock Doves feeding in a field next to Little Dickens Wood.
M.P. Griffiths

Saturday, 6 December 2008

6th December 2008

Goosander(s) reported at the lakes today (BirdGuides BirdMap).

Tuesday, 2 December 2008

2nd December 2008

Once again, the best birds seen during the afternoon/evening were at Terry's Pool, with 3 male Goosanders, 5 Teals and 5+ Cormorants present; with a few Redwings, 13+ Siskins and 2+ Goldfinches seen around the edges.
M.P. Griffiths

Friday, 7 November 2008

7th November 2008

The only notable birds seen during the afternoon at Earlswood were all at or around Terry's Pool, and included 1 male Wigeon, 4 Tufted Ducks, 7 Cormorants, 1 male Great Spotted Woodpecker, 1 probable Sparrowhawk and 2+ Redwings.
M.P. Griffiths

Wednesday, 29 October 2008

29th October 2008

Nothing exceptional seen at Earlswood during the afternoon/evening, apart from 2 Kingfishers seen together on 2 occasions at Engine Pool. At Terry's Pool, saw 7 Tufted Ducks and 3 Cormorants, as well as 3 Goldcrests around the edges. At least 2 Treecreepers were seen in New Fallings Coppice.
M.P. Griffiths

Friday, 24 October 2008

24th October 2008

A good number of birds were seen during the afternoon. In New Fallings Coppice, saw a Jay, a Nuthatch, a Treecreeper, a male Great Spotted Woodpecker and, most notably, a Marsh/Willow Tit. At Terry's Pool, saw 4 male Wigeons, 1 male Shoveler, 4+ Tufted Ducks, 1 Cormorant, 2 Grey Herons and a Black-headed Gull with a grey/silver ring on each leg (unfortunately it flew off before I could get a better look at the rings with my scope, and couldn't be relocated), as well as a Grey Wagtail and 3+ Siskins around the edges. At Windmill Pool, saw a Kingfisher, and along the western side there were quite a few passerines present, including 4 Bullfinches.
M.P. Griffiths

Thursday, 16 October 2008

16th October 2008

A number of birds were present at Terry's Pool during the afternoon, including 2 male Wigeons, 4 Tufted Ducks, 5 Cormorants, 3 Grey Herons and 2 Siskins, and I had an excellent view of a Kingfisher perched near the bridge above the weir. At Windmill Pool, saw possibly a second Kingfisher around the southern side, and there were a number of corvids around the edges including 8 Magpies, 4 Carrion Crows and 38+ Jackdaws. There was no sign of the Little Grebes.
During the late evening, heard at least 1 Tawny Owl in New Fallings Coppice / Clowes Wood.
M.P. Griffiths

Wednesday, 8 October 2008

8th October 2008

During afternoon, managed to relocate the 2 Little Grebes at Windmill Pool, with a female Common Pheasant and 2 Pied Wagtails seen around the edges. At Terry's Pool, saw the eclipse male Shoveler again and 4 Cormorants, and at least 5 Siskins (probably many more but difficult to count) along the southern sides. Single Tufted Ducks were seen on Terry's Pool and Engine Pool. There was no sign of the Greylag Goose. A Treecreeper was seen in New Fallings Coppice.
M.P. Griffiths

Tuesday, 7 October 2008

7th October 2008

At the lakes during the late afternoon / evening, saw 3 Tufted Ducks and the Greylag Goose at Terry's Pool, and a Kingfisher at Engine Pool. However, a number of interesting birds were at Windmill Pool, including at least one pipit (Meadow Pipit?), 2 Grey Wagtails, at least 4 Pied Wagtails and, although seen in dim light what must've been, 2 Little Grebes (1st for me).
It's worth noting that the sand/gravel island in Engine Pool (where this year's Turnstone was seen) has reappeared, as the lakes' water levels have been falling recently.
M.P. Griffiths

Friday, 3 October 2008

3rd October 2008

At the lakes during the afternoon, saw a Kingfisher flying over all 3 pools, with 2 seen at Windmill Pool again. The Greylag Goose was still present, and was seen on Terry's Pool and Windmill Pool. I spotted a male Shoveler in eclipse plumage at Terry's Pool, but had no definite sighting of yesterday's Little Grebe.
M.P. Griffiths

Thursday, 2 October 2008

2nd October 2008

At the lakes during the afternoon, saw at least 5 Cormorants and noted that Great Crested Grebe numbers have increased slightly since my last visit. At Terry's Pool, saw 1 Greylag Goose amongst a large flock of Canada Geese, as well as 2 Tufted Ducks. At Windmill Pool, saw 2 Kingfishers together in a bush (fighting or roosting?) and counted 126 Black-headed Gulls resting on the water. Saw possibly a third Kingfisher at Engine Pool. Met a birdwatcher who said that he'd seen a Little Grebe at Terry's Pool today - a bird that I must've overlooked and a species that I've yet to see at Earlswood.
M.P. Griffiths

Wednesday, 24 September 2008

24th September 2008

Heard/saw 6 Nuthatches in various places at Earlswood during the afternoon. Around Windmill Pool, I was surprised to hear a Chiffchaff singing, and I saw 2-3 other warblers (Chiffchaffs/Willow Warblers probably) mainly in a group of ivy-covered hawthorns nearby.
M.P. Griffiths

Tuesday, 23 September 2008

23rd September 2008

During the afternoon, saw 2 Nuthatches in New Fallings Coppice. At Terry's Pool, there were 2 Cormorants present, and a Treecreeper was seen along the western side. A male Wigeon landed on Windmill Pool at c. 3:15pm and was still present there during the early evening, though he wasn't my "sighting of the day"!
M.P. Griffiths

Friday, 19 September 2008

19th September 2008

Had quite a good day at Earlswood today. During the afternoon, saw a male Great Spotted Woodpecker and 2 Nuthatches in New Fallings Coppice / Little Clowes Wood. Around Terry's Pool, saw what I think was a female Siskin and I think I could hear others as well. Saw a Kingfisher on 3 occasions, once at Engine Pool and twice at Windmill Pool. Other notable birds seen at the lakes were 3 Cormorants and a Tufted Duck. Also, during the early evening, 3 Wigeon appeared on Windmill Pool. Had quite a good view of a female Common Pheasant in a field to the west of Windmill Pool. At least 1 Tawny Owl heard calling from around Engine Pool / Terry's Pool and near New Fallings Coppice car park. No terns or hirundines were seen.
M.P. Griffiths

Sunday, 7 September 2008

7th September 2008

During afternoon, saw 2 Common Terns, at least 1 Tufted Duck, 2 Cormorants and 16 Great Crested Grebes at the lakes. Counted a maximum of 8 Swallows over Windmill Pool.
M.P. Griffiths

Wednesday, 3 September 2008

3rd September 2008

Visited Earlswood during the afternoon today. In New Fallings Coppice, saw 2 Nuthatches together. At the lakes, saw at least 2 Commic Terns, over 40 hirundines (mostly Swallows, but also 1 House Martin), 4 Tufted Ducks, 1 Cormorant, 13 Great Crested Grebes, 15 Coots and at least 7 Moorhens. At Windmill Pool, saw a Grey Wagtail and had a good view of a Kingfisher flying over the water.
M.P. Griffiths

P.S. I did visit Earlswood on 25/08/2008. Hightlights were 7 Grey Herons (6 of which were at Windmill Pool), 2 Tufted Ducks and 3 Green Woodpeckers (around Windmill Pool).

Sunday, 3 August 2008

3rd August 2008

Visited all 3 lakes today, and found that the water levels of Engine Pool and Windmill Pool have been lowered considerably, causing areas of lakebed to become exposed. There was no sign of the Turnstone, but I met a birdwatcher who'd seen the bird yesterday. I saw the island that he'd seen it on, which was an area of exposed lakebed and not one of the reed islands, in Engine Pool. During the morning, I saw a Common Sandpiper fly over Engine Pool 2 or 3 times; around midday I saw probably the same bird along the southern side of Windmill Pool, where I sneaked up on it and was able to observe it quite closely and for several minutes foraging at the water's edge there. During that time, I was fortunate enough to see a Kingfisher fly over Windmill Pool and land in a bush little more than a few metres from the sandpiper, though the bush obscured my view of the little blue bird. I also saw 3 Common Tern at Engine Pool and Windmill Pool during the early afternoon, including a juvenile that was being fed by an adult. However, Lee J (BirdForum) tells me that he saw 5 Common Terns, as well as 3 Herring Gulls, at the lakes during the afternoon.

Great Crested Grebe numbers are currently low at Earlswood, with a grand total of just 11 counted. Coots also are not abundant there at present, with 3 pairs seen on Terry's Pool and 1 pair on Windmill Pool. Grand totals of 43+ Canada Geese and 3 Cormorants were also determined.

With the exception of Mallards, breeding waterbirds at Earlswood do not appear to have done well this year (so far?). I saw several pairs of Great Crested Grebes and at least a couple of Coot pairs building or sitting on nests earlier in the year, but saw no young of these species today (though Terry's Pool is difficult to watch at the moment with much vegetation surrounding it, so might be hiding young birds). Also, a pair of Mute Swans and their clutch have all mysteriously vanished from Engine Pool (I last saw 1 parent with 4 cygnets on June 17th).

There was a female Mallard with 4 quite-young ducklings on Windmill Pool today.

Addendum for yesterday:
The birdwatcher I met told me that he last saw the Turnstone at 6pm yesterday, and thought that it must've flown off during the night. Interestingly, he said that this was the 3rd individual of this species that he'd seen at the lakes, the previous being one in 2005 (the site first, according to the West Midland Bird Report) and another seen sometime in the 1980s. He also mentioned that he'd seen 3 Common Sandpipers at the lakes yesterday
An Arctic Tern was also at the lakes yesterday and reported on BirdGuides (per S. Seal, Warwickshire Birding).

M.P. Griffiths

Saturday, 2 August 2008

2nd August 2008

One Turnstone reported at the lakes today on BirdGuides (per S. Seal, Warwickshire Birding). It was seen in the early afternoon on one of the islands in Engine Pool (per KayD, BirdForum).

This is possibly only the second time this species has been seen at Earlswood Lakes, as one on September 16th 2005 was the first for the site and I am not aware of any subsequent records.
M.P. Griffiths

Wednesday, 11 June 2008

11th June 2008

During the early afternoon, 3 "Commic" Terns (including 1 Common Tern) were seen at the lakes. Also, a pair of Common Whitethroats were located in the area.
M.P. Griffiths

Thursday, 29 May 2008

29th May 2008

10 "Commic" Terns counted at the lakes during the early afternoon today.
M.P. Griffiths

Thursday, 8 May 2008

8th May 2008

No terns seen at Engine Pool or Windmill Pool during early afternoon up to c. 4:20pm, but a number of Mallard and Canada Goose broods noted.
M.P. Griffiths

Wednesday, 7 May 2008

7th May 2008

Nil of note between 4:15pm and 5:00pm approx at the lakes today.

Tuesday, 6 May 2008

6th May 2008

10 Black Terns reported at the lakes today on BirdGuides (per S. Seal, Warwickshire Birding).

Monday, 5 May 2008

5th May 2008

An hour's worth of scanning from the causeway between the Windmill Pool and Engine Pool, between 7:00am and 8:00am, produced 3 Common Terns and a Grey Wagtail. Nothing else of particular note.

No sign of any lingering Black Terns following yesterday's influx.

Sunday, 4 May 2008

4th May 2008

Black Tern reported at the lakes today on BirdGuides (per S. Seal, Warwickshire Birding).

Thursday, 1 May 2008

1st May 2008

Two Arctic/Common Terns were at Windmill Pool again today. Unfortunately, I hadn't brought my scope with me and was only able to watch them for a little over 5 minutes, so I couldn't ID them properly. They were still there at c. 4:45pm, when I left.
Besides the terns, not a great deal of waterbirds present, though a 4th Mute Swan has appeared at the lakes and there was a Mallard pair with 3 ducklings on Terry's Pool. There was no sign of the male Shoveler. I saw 3 Reed Buntings around Terry's Pool and Engine Pool, and a 4th bird was seen by the couple who regular watch the lakes. Also, saw my 1st Earlswood Green Woodpecker near Terry's Pool, and my 1st Swift of the year over Clowes Wood.
M.P. Griffiths

Saturday, 26 April 2008

26th April 2008

Also, 3 Common Sandpiper seen at the lakes today (per S. Seal, Warwickshire Birding).
Report of a single Arctic Tern on one of the buoys on the Windmill Pool this morning, via my Dad. No Common Terns seen.

Thursday, 24 April 2008

24th April 2008

A number of bird species were seen in an Earlswood garden today, including Wood Pigeon, Great Spotted Woodpecker, Nuthatch, Blue Tit, Great Tit, Coal tit, Bullfinch, Chaffinch, Goldfinch, Dunnock, Robin, Jackdaw, Jay, Goldcrest and unidentified warblers (Des, BirdForum).

Tuesday, 22 April 2008

22nd April 2008

No sign of any terns at Windmill Pool or Engine Pool during early afternoon.

Monday, 21 April 2008

21st April 2008

There were two Arctic/Common Terns at the lakes today. They spent most of their time at Windmill Pool, fishing and resting on the buoys there, but would occasionally venture over to Engine Pool for a minute or two. I must admit that when I went to Earlswood today, I was really hoping to see one, especially as good numbers of Commons, Arctics and Blacks had been reported elsewhere. Upon reaching Windmill Pool, I started scanning the water and soon noticed something small and white on one the buoys. It was one of the terns and, seconds later, I spotted the second on another buoy. Using my Collins Bird Guide, I quickly realised that they were either Commons or Arctics. But which?
As they're quite small birds, and were perched not particularly close to me, picking out distinguishing features with my 10x25 binoculars was difficult. By getting as close to one of the birds as I could and comparing it with the plate and notes in my Collins, I came to the conclusion that it was a Common and that the other was probably the same. I felt even more confident with my ID after talking to a couple who are regular birders at the lakes, because the man said that he could see a black tip on the bird's bill. I continued walking around the pool, thinking I'd clinched the terns' ID. But...
Then I met two more birders who seemed to have been watching the terns for some time. I think one of them thought that the terns were both Commons, but the other thought one or both were Arctic. I must admit that on this occasion, the tern perched closest to us that I was looking at didn't look so Common as the one I'd been studying earlier. Its short legs and dark red bill suggested Arctic, but its tail didn't seem to be any longer than its folded wings and its bill seemed too long.
I left the lakes not knowing exactly what I'd seen. Hopefully, the terns stay at least until tomorrow morning so that I can have another go at identifying them.

One thing I didn't see at Windmill Pool was a Black Kite. A bird that was possibly this species was seen flying "northeast through the bottom end of Windmill Pool over woods by the Reservoir Pub" and reported on BirdGuides (per S. Seal, Warwickshire Birding). Interestingly, it was seen there at 16:12 (per D. Hutton, BirdForum), when I was at the pool, though I was probably still concentrating on the terns at that point. I'm told though that it was likely an escape from London Zoo (Mike, BirdForum).

Other notable birds seen:

Terry's Pool: Male Shoveler (presumably the same individual I saw last time) and Tufted Duck pair. 8 Willow Warblers and 2 Chiffchaffs heard/seen around edges. 1 or 2 Swallows over water.
No sign of the Greylag Geese, but the couple I met said that the pair were only there for the one day.

Engine Pool: Mute Swan pair. Just 1 Willow Warbler heard around edges.

Canal feeder: 1 adult Grey Heron and 2 Moorhen visible amongst reeds just beyond gate.

Windmill Pool: 5 Tufted Ducks (3M+2F), 1 juvenile Mute Swan. Female Mallard, almost certainly the same one I saw last time, with 7 ducklings. Hirundine numbers above pool much reduced since previous visit, but all 3 species observed. 1 Willow Warbler and 1 Chiffchaff heard around edges. A 2nd Chiffchaff was singing from land south of pool.

M.P. Griffiths

P.S. saw 5 or 6 birders at the lakes today - never seen so many there, except when I went to see the Grey Phalarope last year.

Wednesday, 16 April 2008

The first of many sighting posts, I hope

I spent about 6 hours at Earlswood today! Saw a lot of birds, so the following are just the most notable that I saw:

New Fallings Coppice: 1 Treecreeper, 1 Buzzard soaring above trees.

Terry's Pool: 2 Greylag Geese (1st for me, and seemed wild), 1 male Shoveler, 1 immature Cormorant. 2 Treecreepers, 2 Blackcaps, 1 Chiffchaff, 2+ Willow Warblers (my 1st definite ID) and 1+ male Reed Bunting seen/heard around edges. A few Swallows over water.
During late evening when I was coming home, the Shoveler was still present but there was no sign of the Greylags.

Engine Pool: Mute Swan pair.

Windmill Pool: 4 Tufted Duck (none on other pools!), 1 juvenile Mute Swan, a female Mallard with 10 ducklings (1st for year). 2 Long-tailed Tits, 1 male Blackcap, 1 Treecreeper and 1 Song Thrush around edges. 50+ hirundines over water (Swallows, Sand Martins and 1+ House Martin).

Land south of WM Pool: 1 male Bullfinch. 2 Chiffchaffs and 1 Common Pheasant heard.

I also visited Earlswood Moathouse NR for the first time, and shall describe what I saw there more completely as this site is possibly less well known/watched than the lakes and SSSI. The site is pretty much deciduous woodland with 2 or 3 ponds. Most of the paths were muddy (no different to the rest of Earlswood!), and I was not pleased to see a bag containing dog poo just left on the ground in there. I also felt that the presence of 3+ non-native Laurels in this nature reserve was inappropriate. However, the site looks very good for breeding birds (anyone visiting will see what I mean), so I shall return.
Birds seen: Wood Pigeons, 1 Goldcrest, 3+ Robins, 3+ male Blackbirds, 2+ Blue Tits, 1 Great Tit, 2 Long-tailed Tits, 1 Treecreeper and 1+ Nuthatch. A large woodpecker hole was noted.
Also, saw what I believe were deer tracks (probably Muntjac) in some mud.

M.P. Griffiths

P.S. as can be seen, there are a lot of Treecreepers at Earlswood at the moment. When I was birding there on the 13th of this month, I counted 4.


Welcome to Birds of Earlswood - a blog for birdwatchers who visit the Earlswood area in Warwickshire, England. Here, birdwatchers may record their Earlswood sightings, either by becoming a contributor or by emailing me. It is hoped that this blog will be updated on a regular basis, so that birdwatchers may also be kept up-to-date with sightings made in the area.
Good birding,

Matthew Griffiths

Blog created: 15/04/2008