Sunday, 28 February 2010

28th February 2010

A super day! I was walking along Fulford Hall Road during the morning when I heard a call that sounded somewhat familiar and I thought "no it can't be", but it was - a male Yellowhammer singing from the top of a tree at Fulford Heath! This is only my second sighting of this species in the Earlswood area, since I saw 3 birds together one morning last year, so I was really pleased!

I'd hoped to meet Clowes Wood warden Ron Hill for some volunteer work, but I was a bit late (due partly to the yellow bird!) and it turned out he wasn't there, and as I was late and a newcomer I didn't want to bother the volunteers (who were busy with the good work they do) anymore than I had already. So I went on to the lakes, where my day got even better! Approaching Terry's Pool, I had a poor view of two ducks flying over the water/trees, and something about them made me think they weren't Mallards, so I made sure I kept an eye on the airspace in case they flew over again (the Gadwalls I saw last year were rather flighty). Sure enough, they flew over a little later and with better views I realised they were a pair of Mandarin Ducks! Later still they landed on Terry's distantly and so I hurried back to get closer views, which I got but these birds were wary - the male was the first I'd seen at the lakes. Terry's Pool also held 2 Shovelers (patch year tick!), a male Pochard and up to 19 Goosanders, so I guess there'd been some duck movement in the night; and the usual Kingfisher. Great Crested Grebe numbers had risen to 10, and 4+ Mute Swans were also at the lakes.

I texted a couple of birders, and John Yardley came out to see the Mandarin Ducks during early afternoon. They showed for him, whilst I had better views of them than before. At Windmill Pool, the 2 Shovelers had relocated there, and the Muscovy Duck also showed - wonder how long this bird will stay?

John Sheppard photographed these beauties today:

Great Crested Grebes (© John Sheppard)

M.P. Griffiths

Friday, 26 February 2010

26th February 2010

Spent late morning doing my fourth and final bird survey of tetrad SP07X, and in the Earlswood part managed a Sparrowhawk at Fulford Heath, whilst in the Worcestershire part saw 5 Siskins and a Coal Tit in Fulford Heath Golf Course.

I was able to spend a bit of time at Terry's Pool after the survey, noting 9 Goosanders, 2 Nuthatches, a Treecreeper and a Coal Tit there. Also met Kevin Bates there, who'd had a Kingfisher and 2 Mute Swans at Engine Pool, the latter of which I saw whilst passing in a car.

M.P. Griffiths

Thursday, 25 February 2010

25th February 2010

Another late afternoon visit produced an elusive female Pochard at Windmill Pool (I'd have never seen her if I hadn't spent so much time at the causeway), as well as the Muscovy Duck. Noted 7 Goosanders fly over Engine Pool from Terry's Pool, which had 2 more still on the water when I got there. Great Crested Grebe numbers had increased to 3.
M.P. Griffiths

Wednesday, 24 February 2010

24th February 2010

Saw a Kingfisher, 2 Mute Swans and the Muscovy Duck during a late afternoon visit. After an absence, 2 Great Crested Grebes had appeared at Engine Pool, whilst a flock of 90+ Jackdaws flew over Windmill Pool.
M.P. Griffiths

Sunday, 21 February 2010

21st February 2010

Another WeBS visit during early morning, with all the best birds at Windmill Pool - 3 male Pochards, flock of 16 Tufted Ducks, 2 Mute Swans and the Muscovy Duck - well, until the boats came out >:-(
With the counts done, I headed back to Terry's Pool and found the 3 Pochards had relocated there, plus 5 Goosanders and 2 Kingfishers were also noted. Saw a Muntjac Deer in Mereside Pools, then to my disbelief saw some nasty teenager chasing it away with a slingshot, missing I think when he used it, but then lobbing a snowball at it - not all anglers are nature lovers!!!
M.P. Griffiths

Friday, 19 February 2010

19th February 2010

A somewhat quiet early afternoon visit to the lakes produced 2 Ravens over Windmill Pool; a Kingfisher (heard), 2 Song Thrushes and 2 Nuthatches at Terry's Pool; and a Reed Bunting (rose from reed island) at Engine Pool. Saw the Muscovy Duck at Terry's and Windmill, and I reckon it's a female. Leaving the lakes, noted 3 Stock Doves on telegraph wire along Wood Lane.

At 7:30 pm, I went to a meeting at Earlswood village hall, having been invited there by Clowes Wood warden Ron Hill. The formation of a new "Earlswood Partnership" group was discussed, and hopefully this group will be able to improve things for wildlife at the lakes, SSSI and other parts of Earlswood...

M.P. Griffiths

P.S. Went to see a Great Grey Shrike at Morton Bagot (Warwickshire) a few days ago - great bird!

Sunday, 14 February 2010

14th February 2010

I spent most of the morning at the lakes and it turned out to be my best visit there this year. First checked Terry's Pool, and had 2 Kingfishers there, then Engine Pool which had nothing unusual. Then got to Windmill Pool and soon noticed a lovely male Goldeneye there (only the second time I've seen this species at Earlswood), and also saw 2 Siskins and a Raven (over). Back at Engine Pool, spotted the Muscovy Duck (had it roosted elsewhere?) and had a flyover Greylag Goose. I then spent some time at Terry's Pool again, watching Goosander numbers slowly build up to a peak of 20 (possibly a site record?!), 2 Mute Swans land on the water and a Pochard. Kevin Bates also saw the Goldeneye at Engine Pool and in flight, but I reckon the bird left the lakes during late morning.
M.P. Griffiths

Saturday, 13 February 2010

13th February 2010

At the lakes late afternoon, things were very quiet with just a Kingfisher and the Muscovy Duck seen at Terry's Pool. However, just as I was leaving, thought I'd check the canal feeder channel on the opposite side of Valley Road to the engine house and was rewarded with what I presume was a Water Rail dashing away from me at the edge of the Lady Lane garden there.
M.P. Griffiths

Thursday, 11 February 2010

11th February 2010

After being dropped off at the lakes late afternoon, saw a Kingfisher, the Muscovy Duck and 3 Pied Wagtails at Engine Pool. A total of 14 Tufted Ducks was counted.
M.P. Griffiths

Wednesday, 10 February 2010

10th February 2010

At the lakes during morning, saw 2 Goosanders at Terry's Pool and a Kingfisher at Windmill Pool, whilst at Engine Pool saw a third Goosander (unusual) and the Muscovy Duck. Checked the Hungry Horse field, but 2 Stock Doves over were the only birds of note - this field has been very disappointing recently, with not a single Lapwing or Golden Plover seen there this year so far.
M.P. Griffiths

Tuesday, 9 February 2010

9th February 2010

I was at the lakes for much of the morning. Saw a Sparrowhawk over Engine Pool again - have seen one on each visit this month so far - though this time the bird was being mobbed by a brave Collared Dove. At Terry's Pool, saw 4 Goosanders and a Kingfisher, plus just 1 Siskin and a Stock Dove, whilst a Buzzard flew over followed by a Raven a little later. To be honest, a pleasant surprise was a Muscovy Duck, which I first saw at Windmill Pool and then saw at the other two pools - okay it's just some escape, but I always find it nice to see an unexpected species at my patch, plus it seems to be a new one for Earlswood's Category D and E list *everyone rolls eyes*. Noted 8 more Stock Doves in a horse pasture near Windmill Pool, with 3+ Lesser Redpolls seen along the track in that area. Leaving the lakes, saw possibly the same Raven over Biddles Hill (Terry's Green). Noted a total of 3 or 4 Buzzards in the Earlswood area.
M.P. Griffiths

Friday, 5 February 2010

5th February 2010

Walking along Fulford Hall Road, saw 10 Redwings and 2 Mistle Thrushes in a field, and counted 21 Fieldfares and 4 more Redwings in another field along Wood Lane. A look in Big and Little Clowes Wood produced 2+ Treecreepers, a Goldcrest, 2 Coal Tits and a Great Spotted Woodpecker. At Terry's Pool, saw 12 Goosanders and 2 Kingfishers, plus a second Goldcrest at Mereside Pools. A Sparrowhawk flew over Engine Pool.
M.P. Griffiths

Monday, 1 February 2010

1st February 2010

At the lakes during the late afternoon, saw 3 male Goosanders and a Kingfisher at Terry's Pool, and 5 adult Mute Swans and a Sparrowhawk (attempted to catch a wagtail) at Engine Pool. I helped a lady (who regularly feeds the ducks) to try to catch a Song Thrush whose beak was permanently open, using a net on the ground but we weren't successful.
M.P. Griffiths