Holmethorpe SPs ... Friday 23rd April 2010

Another morning at my local patch at Holmethorpe Sand Pits in Surrey produced a few migrants.
The first seen were a pair of Wheatears, but they didn't hang around for long.

A Sedge Warbler was chattering crazily from bushes by one of the pits and proved to be the first of three seen in the area. Meanwhile, a Reed Warbler was rhythmically pumping out its song from a scrubby area by another pit.
Blackcaps are still in fairly good numbers locally with at least 10 birds seen, only two of which were females, and other warblers consisted of 9 Common Whitethroats, 2 Lesser Whitethroats, 7 Chiffchaffs and 3 Willow Warblers.
A lone Skylark was in song flight over the farm and 5 Stock Doves were feeding on the fields.
Over Mercers Lake, around 15 Swifts were circling together very high but hirundines were poorly represented with just 2 Swallows and 6 Sand Martins seen.
A few wildfowl, apart from the ever-present Tufted Ducks and Mallards, are still around with two male Shovelers, a pair of Teal and a pair of Gadwall in temporary residence, though I doubt they will hang around for very much longer. A couple of Egyptian Geese flew over but raptors were obvious by their absence, considering the sunny and warm conditions, with only a male Kestrel seen.
A pair of Lapwings continue to display in the area and a Little Owl was perched out on an oak, until it decided it didn’t appreciate being watched and flew to another tree and out of sight.
This year, there seems to be an increase in the number of Song Thrushes holding territory with up to 15 birds singing early each morning.
Our first brood of Mallards have appeared on Mercers Lake with around eight ducklings present.
On one of the pits, a nest has been built at the water’s edge and I have seen it occupied by a Little Grebe and the following day by a Great Crested Grebe and then, this morning, a Coot was sitting on it.
It will be interesting to see which of them actually manages to lay eggs.


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