Friday, 5 August 2011

Summer 2011

Yet another long-overdue post! Hard to believe that it's over two months now since the Night Heron was at the lakes, lastly on the evening of May 28th. Since then I've seen a number of other good birds at Earlswood, not nearly as rare but they're making for another great patch year. As expected with the low water levels exposing much lakebed, a number of waders have visited the lakes during July, signaling the start of the autumn passage, and so far I've recorded a Whimbrel, three lots of Black-tailed Godwit (only two previous Earlswood records!!!), Oystercatcher, Redshank, Green Sandpiper, Dunlin, Little Ringed Plover, Common Sandpiper (up to 12+ reported!) and Lapwing. In all 14 wader species have been recorded in the area this year to date, of which Woodcock is the only one I've failed to connect with; I'm expecting Greenshank to occur, but would most like to find Wood Sandpiper as it'd be the first since 1949! The only problem is that many people are walking on the lakes' beaches and scaring things off, with many of the waders disappearing by 8:00 am, and hardly any seen since the summer holidays started. One female dog-walker particularly annoys me, always allowing her Alsatians to run off lead and chase birds from the shore, and on one occasion I believe these dogs caused a few nesting Great Crested Grebes and Coots at Windmill Pool to desert as their nests were dangerously close to the falling water's edge at the time. Those two species haven't had a good year at the lakes this year, but Mallard have had an excellent one with many broods seen.

Also frustrating in the last few days have been a couple of sightings that I've had to let slip: 2 possible Crossbills over, which would've been the first record at Earlswood in over 100 years, and a probable Gadwall, which otherwise would've been the first recorded this year. However, I was very pleased to find a juvenile Shelduck at Windmill Pool one morning, which was my 130th bird species at Earlswood, and in the last few days a female/juvenile Mandarin Duck has been present, the well-watched and long-staying male being last seen in eclipse plumage early last month. From memory, other particularly notable sightings in the last few months have been a Little Grebe, the odd Hobby, up to 2 Little Owls, a Yellow Wagtail and 2 pairs of Spotted Flycatchers. I've recorded 115 bird species at Earlswood so far this year, already smashing my previous personal record of 113 that I set last year, and the best months of the autumn passage are still to come - very exciting! This is out of a total of 122 bird species recorded at Earlswood so far this year.

Earlier today I walked all the way around Terry's Pool for the first time since late May - the path improvement work along the northern sides of the pool appear to be finished and I think they've done a good job. I was particularly pleased to see that the path has been raised so that damage to tree roots has been kept to a minimum. Already quite a few walkers were using it, which from my point of view and the birds' could be a bad thing, as disturbance here could now increase. We shall see...

M.P. Griffiths

1 comment:

Carrie said...

Where have you been Matthew. Its good to see you posting with so much interesting information. Thanks for the up date