Monday, April 13, 2009

8 Mile

Another Sunday, another marathon walk through the patch. Earlswood Lakes was the destination, with a number of species targeted.

On the whole, it was very successful. I picked up my first blackcap and willow warbler around the lakes and in the surrounding woodland. There was a bonus too when an oystercatcher flew over the lakes as I scanned unsuccessfully for common terns and grey wagtails.

Other birds that I had hoped to get included kingfisher, common sandpiper and sand martin, but none were spotted.

Following up a bit of gen given to me by Earlswood stalwart Matt Griffiths, I devoted a bit of time to the area around the Hungry Horse, a short distance from the lakes. This was time well spent, with three linnets in the area - not an easy bird to see on the patch. Also noted were three lapwings, a few stock dove and three swallows. A skylark sang in a nearby field.

I chose to come back home via Lea Green Lane, where I think I spotted two house martins. Potentially another tick, but I wasn't entirely confident about identifying them based on the very brief views I had, so they will have to wait for another day.

The fields that border Gorsey Lane failed to deliver anything better than chiffchaff, another blackcap, common buzzard and a male bullfinch. So much for it being a possible migrant trap then!

An impressive 8.4 miles were added to the total mileage today.

Birds Seen On Foot 2009: 68

Distance travelled: 64.3 miles


A second stab at the local barn owls last night. I had a brief glimpse of one at about 8:45pm, flying low towards the trees on Gorsey Lane, followed by a typical ghostly shriek minutes later.

I'm starting to see one or two bats flying around at dusk now too. As yet, I've not heard any tawny owls in the neighbourhood, but I'm sure they're around and I hope to see one from the garden again this year. It would be a great bird for the patch list.

Next Sunday I'm keen to get out to one or two different sites. I would dearly love to find ring ouzels on passage, plus my devotion to the patch this year has meant that I've not visited some of my favourite places. With some great birds set to appear, I think it's time I ventured further afield and bagged one or two of them.

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