The migrants keep coming ... Wednesday 21st & Thursday 22nd April 2010 at Holmethorpe SPs

After enjoying the sight of the female Common Redstart at Holmethorpe Sand Pits yesterday evening, I did not expect to find it again today (Wednesday) but it had remained overnight at exactly the same location.

It was on an inaccessible area of Surrey Wildlife Trust land and could only be viewed from a distance, so getting a decent photo was impossible with the digiscoping gear that I have. The bird remained all day, never straying far from where it was first sighted.

Other birds noted by the local birders on Wednesday were a female Wheatear (I later found out that a visiting birder, Andrew Pearce, had seen two females together), two Green Sandpipers and one Common Sandpiper, a Lesser Whitethroat, a Shelduck, a Common Buzzard and a flock of around 70 Sand Martins that appeared from nowhere and disappeared just as quickly.

Today, Thursday, I couldn’t find the Common Redstart in the morning, so I presume it has moved on.
I had a good count of the warblers and found two Reed Warblers (new birds for the year locally, and the 115th species noted - photo below), 18 Blackcaps, 11 Common Whitethroats, 2 Lesser Whitethroats, 7 Chiffchaffs and 4 Willow Warblers, still no Garden Warblers!

Three Swifts and 3 House Martins were feeding over an area we locally call the Willow Wood. Several years ago, 'Willow Wood' described this area pretty well but, when Mercers West Pit was excavated, much of the wooded area succumbed to the digger, so it is no longer a wood as such, just a belt of mature willows and scrubby bushes between a brook and the pit.
Unfortunately, this is another area where there is no access but, in the past, the purring of Turtle Doves from the wood, the occasional sighting of a Lesser Spotted Woodpecker or a Woodcock during the winter months was almost to be expected.
Now it is the domain of Woodpigeons, Magpies and Carrion Crows.

A Green Sandpiper was at one of the pits and three Common Buzzards were circling together high above the area.
Several Linnets are now paired up and I suspect that they are nesting in the tangle of brambles at one of the pits.

So, what will be the next migrant to appear at Holmethorpe?
My guess is Cuckoo, Garden Warbler or Common Tern, but something rarer would be nice!


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