Local sightings

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February 2012

Little Grebe Kingfisher continued to be seen on an all too infrequent basins about The Test at Town Mill.
waterbirds about the Parish included a Little Grebe on The Test.
Right: Little Grebe, Tachybaptus ruficollis. "See, I don't just do Kingfishers" - Alan Willis
20+ Fieldfare and two Redwing were seen in an Alexander Road garden.
snow!!! The thick overnight blanketing had however mostly disappeared by dusk. 2 Little Egret, 6 Shoveler, 11 Gadwall, 11 Tufted Duck, a Grey Wagtail and Chiffchaff were at the filtration pools mid-afternoon. The wettest day of the month.
a Little Owl was showing particularly well in Station Road trees early evening, providing a suitably interesting diversion from the very orange moon rise.
several hundred Woodpigeon were flushed from crops adjacent to Hill Meadow late afternoon.
Fieldfare a flock of Fieldfare visited a Riverside Close cotoneaster.
Right: Fieldfare, Turdus pilaris. "It was taken through the glass of my double glazed bedroom window on a dull day and hand held - so it's not too bad" - Tony Morris
the village woke to yet another noticeable fall of snow.
a Long-eared Owl was again on the wing about The Harroway early evening. Kingfisher continued to show well about The Test.
a Fieldfare was again seen to visit an Alexander Road garden, there also being reports of larger numbers being seen whilst walking The Harrow Way; good numbers of Brown Hare also being seen in the latter area.
Red Kite remained active about the northern side of the village, as they were to do so for the remainder of the month.
Kingfisher flying an unwell Hedgehog, underweight and with evidence of both mange and breathing problems was rescued and transported off to HART. Though not quite so local nowadays, they're still there and continuing their good works.
Right: Kingfisher, Alcedo atthis. "In flight!" - Alan Willis
a Water Rail was at Overton Lagoons during the monthly WeBS* counts,13 wetland species again being recorded there that also included the two Little Egret, Little Grebe, five Shoveler and 20 of both Teal and Gadwall. A total of 112 wetland birds being observed while a Chiffchaff, two Marsh Tit and both male and female Reed Bunting were lingering about the edging vegetation. Two Common Gull at Turrill Hill were notable for the area, the 'pigs' there attracting these in to feed on the disturbed ground. A small party of Canada Geese were at Lower Ashe.
the 11 Canada Geese remained close to the pond at Ashe.
the Winter Aconite at Southington House had all but gone over now. Four Lapwing, and seven Meadow Pipit, at Turrill Hill had further flocks of 22 and 34 moving low south over them early evening, a Buzzard being in an adjacent hedgerow.
a male Blackcap venturing in to a Woodlands garden was the first seen there this winter, joining, among others, Goldfinch, Greenfinch, Chaffinch, Dunnock and Blue Tit. A Red Kite was over Dellands Track early afternoon. Both Blue Tit and House Sparrow were once again seen investigating nest boxes.
a Water Rail was showing on The Test at Polhampton. The finding of a road-kill Long-eared Owl to the north of the village shortly after midnight was certainly not the best way to start a days' birding. On a slightly happier note, both male and female Tawny Owl were vocal in the village shortly after this sad finding.
dull, dreary and drizzly!
a Red Kite was over Foxdown early morning, Grey Wagtail and Nuthatch about the Filtration Pools / Station Road. A further Red Kite was lingering over Overton Hill late in the afternoon. Three Honey-bee and a hoverfly were attending a Station Hill garden. Passing Little Meadow saw just Snowdrop in flower. Early afternoon saw the highest temperature of the year being recorded: 15.9°C.
the planting of trees for the Community Orchard on Overton Hill saw 60+ locals attending, a Red Admiral and bumble-bee flying through the assorted workers and trees and both Red Kite, two, and a Buzzard flying overhead.
both Brimstone and Honey-bee appeared for the first time this year in one garden while 24+ Seven-spot Ladybird were sun bathing in one and many more in another; the latter also playing host to a queen bumble-bee. A Yellowhammer was on roadside wires at South Litchfield. An overwintering Hedgehog was still to be found in its hibernaculum.
Two Barn Owl were seen displaying to one another in Silver Birch in a Lordsfield Gardens front garden, keeping the local residents awake – though I've yet to hear of any complaints about this! Two Red Kite were loitering in trees at Frost Hill late in the afternoon.
Little Owl were once again using the fields off Flashetts to proclaim their territory. Frogspawn was already evident in Lorsdfield Gardens garden ponds while nearby, Primrose were in flower in Court Drove.

Contributors: Jane Beckmann, David Cluett, Chris Foster, Helen Harden, Alison Hutchins, Peter E. Hutchins, Veronique Kerguelen, Tony Morris Margaret Rainford, Barry Stalker, Adam Trickett & Alan Willis.

*WeBS: The Wetland Bird Survey - the scheme which monitors non-breeding waterbirds in the UK. The principal aims of WeBS are to identify population sizes, determine trends in numbers and distribution and to identify important sites for waterbirds.

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