FRIDAY 16 MAY
Another glorious day with temperatures even higher than yesterday's - 23 degrees C at one point this afternoon
Following a call from Steve Blake, astounded to see a family party of COMMON GOLDENEYE at SPRINGWELL LAKE (situated adjacent to the Stockers Lake complex) with Geoff Lapworth, John Edwards and JT mid morning, the first-ever such occurrence I have witnessed in Southern England (Goldeneye primarily being a breeder on the Scottish lochs). At the time (0930 hours), the female was accompanying 7 small ducklings (see pix below) but sadly by midday, just 4 remained (survived), after 3 were observed being taken by Pike. An amazing record and one of less than five such occurrences away from Northern England and Scotland.
A reasonable selection of birds encountered at SPRINGWELL, with the Mute Swans with just 1 surviving cygnet, 8 Greylag Geese, 12 Tufted Duck, drake Pochard, Coots with young (6 nests), 2 Common Tern, Stock Dove, Great Spotted Woodpecker, 2 singing Western Reed Warbler, 2 Common Chiffchaff and a single male Garden Warbler.
I then made a visit to TOTTERNHOE KNOLLS where the undoubted highlight was a purring male EUROPEAN TURTLE DOVE - my first of the year. A total of 11 MAN ORCHID spikes was also apparent, while Great Spotted Woodpecker, Common Whitethroat (3), Blackcap, Common Chiffchaff, Goldfinch and Greenfinch complemented the list.
Nearby, 2 CORN BUNTINGS were along WELLHEAD ROAD - one of the few reliable sites left for this declining species in the area.
At MILL FARM MEADOWS (CHESS VALLEY), 5 male Common Whitethroats were on territory, with another at neighbouring FROGMORE MEADOW, as well as 3 singing male GARDEN WARBLERS