Holmethorpe Sand Pits, Surrey … 14th – 29th December 2011-12-29

The first-winter or female GARGANEY was at Spynes Mere and the adjacent pit again on the 14th and 15th and an adult MEDITERRANEAN GULLwas at Mercers Lake on the 16th, presumably the same small individual seen on the 22nd November.

A female GOLDENEYE appeared at Mercers West Pit on the 17th and has remained there since, sometimes in the company of a second female.

A pair of GOOSANDERS flew west over Mercers Lake on the 18th and a Little Egret was at The Moors NR on the 19th.

The 20th produced the two female GOLDENEYES on Mercers West Pit, a drake Shelduck on Spynes Mere and a Peregrine over The Moors NR.

The male Shelduck was seen again on the 24th and 25th and another Peregrine sighting occurred on the 24th. Gordon also found a BARN OWL roosting at Mercers Farm on the 25th but it hasn’t been seen since.

A Little Egret was at The Moors on the 26th and 27th and two Little Owls were at Mercers Farm on the 26th.

On the 29th, Ian relocated the GARGANEY at the western end of The Moors.
It was distant and elusive amongst Teal on the flooded area near the railway line. During the two weeks since it was last seen, it seems to have advanced in plumage and is now looking far more like a first winter male than a female. Its head, neck and breast all seem darker brown and its flanks appear pale grey. There are also signs of developing greyish scapulars.

Hopefully it will remain into the New Year.



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