Meeting up with Gordon Hay at 5.45 a.m., we decided to search our local patch for spring migrants, but the morning proved far quieter than we had anticipated. A few decent birds were on display though with a Swallow amongst the Sand Martins, a pair of Shelducks and two male Mandarins in flight, spotted by Gordon, being the best of the bunch.
We were joined by Steve Gale and, after a while, Gordon had to return home, so Steve and I wandered the pits, but it was still pretty quiet.
Later in the morning we met up with Kevin Guest, one of the Beddington SF regulars, who had come in search of the female Black Redstart seen yesterday. Unfortunately, we were unable to find it today, but we did pick up at least 4 Common Buzzards in the distance.
When the rain started, Steve and I decided that we had just about run out of enthusiasm for the day and headed off to our respective homes, Kevin deciding to stay on as he wanted to add Shelduck to his Holmethorpe year list.
I had just arrived home and was about to prepare that birder’s culinary delight, the bacon butty, for myself, when the phone rang. It was Kevin, who had just found a pair of Garganey on Spynes Mere.
A quick call to Gordon had him rushing to pick me up in his car and we set off in pursuit of yet another local year tick. Kevin rang again to say that the birds had flown to the nearby Mercers West Pit.
When we arrived Kevin had located them at the pit and informed us that top Surrey year lister Johnny Allan was on his way to add this species to his year list. Unfortunately, Johnny had a nightmare journey from Beddington SF, first being delayed on the A23 by roadworks and also missing a Little Ringed Plover that had arrived at Beddington after he had left.
Luckily, the pair of Garganey stayed put and we all had reasonable, but distant views of them. Five Wigeon had also dropped in during the showers and the female Goldeneye was still present.
Kevin spotted a Little Egret in flight and there were four Egyptian Geese on one of the pits.
A slow start, but Kevin’s perseverance paid off and, thanks to him, we all added another species for the year.
Gordon, Kevin and Johnny.