Holmethorpe Sand Pits, Surrey ... 17th February 2010

With Paul and his wife away on holiday at present, I have been trying to concentrate my efforts at my local patch at Holmethorpe Sand Pits near Redhill in Surrey.

The weather has not been particularly kind lately, with a mixture of rain, sleet and snow showers during the last week, but today was sunny and relatively mild by comparison.

The long-staying redhead Smew was still present on Mercers Lake along with a female Goldeneye. Another female Goldeneye was on another pit (there have been up to two female Smews and three female Goldeneyes on occasions since before the New Year).

Female Smew 17th Feb 2010

Female Goldeneye 15th Feb 2010

numbers were up on recent counts with at least 22 birds present but only two Teal and few Gadwall were seen. A pair of Shelducks was a pleasant sight and good numbers of Lapwings were at one pit, with a count of 173, although we did count 416 on one day back in January.

SHELDUCK 17th Feb 2010

Male and female GADWALL 17th Feb 2010

Two Egyptian Geese flew up from one of the pits and and, out on Mercers Farm, 22 Linnets were feeding on the field along with a lone Yellowhammer.

A Little Owl tried hard to conceal itself behind a branch in an oak, but the Magpies kicking up a fuss above it gave its presence away.

LITTLE OWL 17th Feb 2010

Plenty of Fieldfares and Redwings were feeding on an area of short grass.

FIELDFARE 17th Feb 2010

Thirteen Cormorants were on a raft at Mercers Lake, two of which were in full breeding plumage, and four Reed Buntings were at Spynes Mere, one male being in full song.

It is amazing what a difference a bit of sunshine can make.


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