Saturday, 14 January 2012

Winter summary

Here's a couple of paragraphs that I've written for the local Residents Asociation newsletter:


A number of uncommon birds have visited Earlswood so far this winter, and it will be interesting to discover what else occurs in the next few months now the water levels are much higher than they had been. Whilst water levels were still very low back in November, a Shelduck, a Dunlin and a Rock Pipit visited the lakes. This winter's undoubted highlight though was in December when a Short-eared Owl circled briefly over Windmill Pool (a first for Earlswood), whilst other good birds visiting the lakes in that month were a Peregrine Falcon flying over, two Gadwall, a Shoveler and a Little Gull. More recently this year, a Kittiwake blown inland by the strong winds, two Shelducks flying over, a Little Owl, four Wigeon, another Gadwall and another Shoveler were seen. A pair of Mandarin Ducks have been present for a while, favouring Terry's Pool, and several Teal have been seen. A Woodcock appears to be over-wintering in the vicinity of the lakes, as does a Kestrel which strangely has even been seen in Earlswood Common gardens backing onto Windmill Pool. Peaks of 600+ Golden Plovers and c. 110 Lapwing have been seen flying over the area, with flocks being seen on many more occasions than usual. Other winter visitors like Redwing, Fieldfare, Siskin and Lesser Redpoll are also residing at Earlswood this winter, but perhaps in lower numbers than the 2010-11 winter. In the Manor Farm and Hungry Horse area along Norton Lane, the Peregrine was seen on two consecutive days, apparently feeding on prey, and was photographed. In a garden near the lakes, up to five Brambling have been reported visiting.

Talking of gardens, I'd love to hear from residents about interesting birds they see in their gardens or the local area and can be contacted via email ( Perhaps you have a Blackcap wintering in your garden, or you've counted a large flock of House Sparrows visiting your feeders? Maybe something unusual like a Brambling or even a Black Redstart or Waxwing pays a visit? Perhaps on a walk around the local area you find something "strange"? Do please get in touch. (N.B. obviously photos are very useful for identifying or confirming something unusual).

Matt Griffiths

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