Holmethorpe SPs, Surrey …Feb 23rd - 31st Mar 2011

A DUNLIN was present at Spynes Mere on the 23rd Feb and the run of good waders continued when a CURLEW put in an appearance at Mercers West Pit on the 28th Feb.

A drake RED-CRESTED POCHARD of unknown origin dropped in on the 5th Mar and a PEREGRINE flew over Holmethorpe on the 6th Mar. Twenty-two WAXWINGS at The Moors NR on the 7th was a pleasant surprise and three JACK SNIPE and the first CHIFFCHAFF of the year appeared on the 8th Mar.

The 9th was a good day when a RED KITE drifted north over Holmethorpe and a first-winter WHITE-FRONTED GOOSE was present with Greylags near Spynes Mere. A MEDITERRANEAN GULL was also found on Mercers Lake on the 9th, another first for the year locally. The WHITE-FRONTED GOOSE remained on the 10th before departing. On the same date, two JACK SNIPE were seen in flight.

The 11th produced a TAWNY OWL calling near Nutfield Ridge and the 13th saw nine WAXWINGS fly over and another sighting of two JACK SNIPE. A REDSHANK flew from a misty Water Colour Lagoon 1 on the 16th and headed west calling loudly. The drake RED-CRESTED POCHARD was seen again on the 17th when four LITTLE EGRETS were seen, although up to three egrets were present throughout the period. Two DUNLIN dropped in at Spynes Mere on the 18th and a RED KITE and a pair of PEREGRINES were seen on the 19th. The first SAND MARTINS of the year, five birds, were seen on the 20th, when another PEREGRINE put in an appearance.

Excitement on the 21st when Holmethorpe’s second site record of HEN HARRIER, a ringtail, flew north. A PEREGRINE, a male BRAMBLING and the first pair of BLACKCAPS appeared on the 22nd and the following day the first LITTLE RINGED PLOVER of the year dropped in. Two male RED-CRESTED POCHARDS were present on the 24th along with another two BRAMBLINGS. The first SWALLOW and WILLOW WARBLER of the year were seen on the 25th and a RED KITE and the year’s first local HOUSE MARTIN appeared on the 27th.

More excitement was provided on the 29th when two AVOCETS spent the day at Mercers West Pit. The same date provided the first local SEDGE WARBLER of 2011.

April holds the promise of more spring migrants and, hopefully, a spring overshoot will put in an appearance at Holmethorpe Sand Pits.

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