Eakring Birds 2008
A monthly review
 
January
     
A fairly quiet month to open 2008, but there was a decent selection of regular scarce species and one exceptional rarity.

With the general drop in wildfowl numbers at sites across the area for several years now, a flock of 48 Wigeon flying around the Red Hill area on the 4th, was an exceptional record. The birds were favouring an area of water on Blisthorpe Pit Top, but 35 were again noted the following day. Wigeon have become very scarce at Eakring in recent years and this count represents the second highest count for the area since a flock of 60 flew west over Eakring Flash on September 11th 1999. There were small numbers of Teal at either Eakring Flash or Penny Pasture Common on and off throughout the month, the first Gadwall (four) returned on 16th and a Tufted Duck was at Eakring Flash on 26th. Two Shelduck were present on 25th. The only Goosander records all concerned a pair at Eakring Flash from 4-6th, 12th and 17th.

Water Rail remained hard to find all month, with one giving itself away by calling constantly at Eakring STW on 12th, being the first. Another was then at Eakring Flash from 19-26th. Pretty much in accordance with first dates recorded annually since 1998, Coot returned to the area during January, with one at Eakring Flash for a day (20th) and then four there on 26th, although these also remained for just a single day. Single Common Buzzards were noted at either Hare Hill Wood or Lound Wood on four dates, with two in the area on the 25th. A Peregrine south over Eakring Flash (13th) was certainly a male on size, but because of the poor light and weather conditions, it's age could not be accurately determined. Common Snipe counts rose from just four at Eakring Meadows on 1st, to a notable 19 on 19th, but there was no sign of any Jack Snipe. 97 Lapwing flew south-west (3rd) whilst Golden Plover continued their poorest Winter showing here and the only records concerned odd singles or just the occasional calls.

The highlight of January was without doubt, the adult Iceland Gull at Eakring Flash on 5th in fields with 36 Herring Gull,till they all flew off south-west towards Bilsthorpe Tip. This represented only the third record of Iceland Gull here, the last being another adult seen on December 31st 2000 and January 1st 2001. Peak gull counts during the month included 68 Common Gull at Eakring Flash on 19th, 31 Great Black-backed Gull on 12th and 115 Herring Gull at Tug Bridge Farm on the 20th.

Other sightings included a flock of 80 Sky Lark in stubble fields at Red Hill (3rd) with 40 Yellowhammer in the same general area, a Brambling at High Trees (Eakring village) on 12th provided a rare Winter record. Eakring village produced a very surprising 130 House Sparrow during a species population survey (19th) A minimum of 200 Fieldfare were at Park Farm on 1st, with 273 Fieldfare and 30 Redwing at Tug Bridge Farm on 16th. 105 Starling south-east on 19th, was another unusual record, given the time of year.

     
February
     
February seemed quiet for long periods, but at the end of the month there were some extremely notable records. A cold and frosty third week of the month meant that numbers of wildfowl dropped, whereas prior to this there had been a good build-up of Gadwall. Counts at Eakring Flash rose from six on 3rd, to a maximum of 17 on the 13th, before it froze over for several days. But by the 28th, Eakring Flash again held a minimum of nine. The first Pochard of the year were two drakes at Eakring Flash (13th) with a drake Shelduck present (9th) and a pair on 28th. Surprisingly, the only Goosander seen were a pair on 2-3rd, which was a very disappointing showing for February.

Single Water Rail were at Eakring Flash on several dates including 2nd, 10th and 13th, but there was another found in the unusual location of Penny Pasture Common on 28th, which was only the second Water Rail record away from Eakring Flash.

...
There was an influx of Common Snipe at Eakring Meadows (2nd) with 42 being the highest count here since February 2002. Counts dropped after this date although there were 24 present (7th) and 23 on 10th. A Jack Snipe was finally found at Penny Pasture Common, Eakring Meadows on 13th, but was the only one of the month. February continues to be the peak month for Jack Snipe records here, as the chart on the right shows. Woodcock were found at Hare Hill Wood on the 9th and then the next day at Penny Pasture Common (10th) and what was possibly the same bird, was seen flying onto Penny Pasture Common at dusk on the 17th. After what has been the worst Winter for Golden Plover here, it was nice to find a flock of approximately 198 in fields at Church Hill and Tug Bridge Farm on 17th.  
...
It was a poor month for gulls with no counts of any real note. 18 Common Gull in the area on 16th, being the only count worth giving a mention.

Common Buzzard sightings included single birds on several dates, one of which was regularly around Tug Bridge Farm. Two were at Hare Hill Wood on 7th, at Red Hill on 13th, with four in the Tug Bridge Farm and Kneesall Road area on 9th. A male Peregrine was over Eakring Meadows briefly on 2nd, before drifting off towards Kersall. A Long-eared Owl was present in the same roost used by two birds early last year near Kersall from 9th-22nd and a Barn Owl was seen hunting set-aside strips near Eakring Field Farm on 17th.

Stonechats had been noted arriving at some south-coast sites during the last week of February, but it was still a great surprise when three birds turned up on the 28th, with a male along the roadside between Eakring and Wellow and a pair along the boundary fence at Penny Pasture Common. These were the first February records at Eakring since 2001. Other signs that some birds were beginning to move were 74 Starling east over Eakring Flash (13th) 63 Fieldfare north-west and north-east (17th) and then two Brambling at Eakring Flash briefly and just minutes before a flock of 22 flew high north on 28th.

     
March
     
March at Eakring is often a month of contrasts, but it was far from being an ordinary month this year. Despite producing an new species for the area, the real highlight personally was the exceptional Stonechat passage through the area, ensuring that the first half of March, was considerably more rewarding than normal.

Six out of seven of the area's Whooper Swan records have all come in March, so it was no surprise when a flock of ten flew west over Eakring Flash on the afternoon of the 26th. A pair of Shelduck were present at Eakring Flash on numerous dates, with four noted (6th) and three on 29th. Formerly common ducks (but both considerably rarer in recent years) included single drake Pochard on 16th and 19th and a Tufted Duck present on 21st. A drake Wigeon at Eakring Flash (26th) was the latest ever here in Spring. The only Goosander noted were a pair at Eakring Flash on 21st, but the rarest duck was the first ever Red-breasted Merganser, seen coming in from the north and circling Eakring Flash a couple of times before heading off west at 06:20h on March 29th.

Raptors included numerous sightings of Common Buzzard, with counts of more than two birds being four (3rd) but definite passage occurred on the 14th, with five probable migrants coming over from the south-west and continuing north and north-east. A male Peregrine was on pylons around Tug Bridge Farm on 15th and a female Merlin flew west over Eakring Flash and Red Hill on 29th.

A late Water Rail was calling at Eakring Flash on both the 6th and 26th and a single Long-eared Owl was present all month in the now traditional daytime roost near Kersall, whilst waders included 18 Common Snipe at Eakring Meadows (15th) rising to at least 30 birds on 29th. Two Jack Snipe were present with Common Snipe on 29th and a very large flock of 950 Golden Plover were over Red Hill on 27th.

The fore-runners of March's record number of Stonechat actually began at the end of the previous month, when three birds arrived on February 28th. A further 16 Stonechats continued to appear throughout the whole of March, with the final total for this Spring being 19 birds. When you consider that there had never been any more than three Stonechat in a single Spring here before, then the scale of this passage needs little imagination. Penny Pasture Common provided eight of the month's Stonechat with five (four males and one female) there on 4th, followed by a male on the 6th and a male and female on the 19th. Two males were along roadside hedges near Eakring Field Farm on 29th, whilst roadside hedgerows near Wellow, produced a female on the 14th and a male on the 17th. Records from Eakring Flash included two males (14th) and females on both 15th and 29th. The first Wheatear of the Spring, was a male briefly at Eakring Field Farm on 30th.

Number of Wintering thrushes continued to be very low and there were no large build-ups of Fieldfare. The best Fieldfare count, was of 53 moving north-east on 24th. Visible migration watches produced the best Meadow Pipit count since 2001, with 244 north-west on 27th. Otherwise, all other species produced only meagre totals although 124 Starling east on 26th was more notable. Sand Martin arrived with two north-west over Hare Hill Wood (27th) followed by a single north-west on 30th. The first Chiffchaffs included two in Eakring village on 27th, four at High Trees on 29th and a single at Eakring Meadows on 31st. A single Brambling was with a mixed flock of finches at Park Farm (6th) which had contained 100+ Linnet the previous day. Three Common Crossbill flew north over Eakring Flash on 26th.

At least one Nuthatch was present at Hare Hill Wood from 14th onwards, just part of what was a most productive month.

     
April
An excellent month, which only disappointed in a lack of fly-over wader and tern records, but more than made up for it with a succession of other sought-after species.

It was a poor month for wildfowl, with six Shelduck at Eakring Flash on 3rd and a pair of Teal remaining in the area until the 24th, being the only notable records.

The opening day of April produced the area's tenth Red Kite, when an immature flew west over Lound Wood at 07:50h. April is clearly a peak month for Red Kites here, with a total of four records to date. Obviously many raptors pass through the area during April and this was evident by the numbers of Common Buzzards that were noted. With at least four regular birds in the area, coupled with birds often ranging from the Rufford, Kirklington and Wellow areas, birds were recorded daily throughout. Definite migrant Common Buzzards included groups of seven high south-east (27th) followed a few days later by three high south-east (29th) A major surprise was the female Hen Harrier quartering fields in the Red Hill area at 07:35h for around five minutes, before eventually drifting west and out of view 27th. This was almost certainly the bird which was recorded at Bolsover and then Carburton, before being seen here and then a day or so later over Mansfield Woodhouse. A female Peregrine was over Eakring Flash on 5th, with another over Penny Pasture Common on 12th.

A Curlew north over Red Hill on 3rd was one of few wader records. Four Whimbrel flew west over Eakring Flash on 24th, with another high west over Eakring Flash on 27th were the only others. The two regular Long-eared Owls were again in their usual roost until the 1st at least, but a Barn Owl showed stunningly well most evenings during the latter part of the month, as it presumably fed young.

Three Tree Pipit in a Spring here is unheard of, so it was pleasing that singles were noted on three dates, including moving north-west (17th) at Penny Pasture Common (19th) at Eakring Flash before moving off north-west (23rd) There was no strong Meadow Pipit movement this April, but White Wagtails were present in horse paddocks at Eakring on 4th and at Penny Pasture Common on 16th. A pair of Grey Wagtail were at the latter site on 20th and were seen the next day at Tug Bridge Farm.

Thrush counts were relatively unspectacular. 26 Redwing at Eakring Meadows (2nd) was the best count, with the last bird of the Spring being at Penny Pasture Common for a few days till the 21st. The best of the Fieldfare counts were different groups totalling 165 in the Red Hill area 17th, with 180 present on 22nd. Other smaller Fieldfare groups were noted throughout the month, either leaving high to the north-east at dusk, but also at Tug Bridge Farm and Penny Pasture Common. A group of 12 Fieldfare at Penny Pasture Common also held a female Ring Ouzel which remained from 19-23rd. It could be very difficult to locate at times, spending much of it's time some days feeding on Ivy berries (something at least two other Ring Ouzels have done here in the past) but did show quite well occasionally.

A male Redstart was in the Sallow scrub along the western-edge of Eakring Flash (10th) with another at Eakring Flash on 27th, but both were extremely elusive most of the time. The only Whinchat of the month was at Eakring Flash mid-morning of the 27th, but did'nt stay for long before moving off. Wheatear records included single males in fields at Park Farm (2nd) at Tug Bridge Farm (14th) and in fields at Kersall (17th) Four arrived at two sites on the 10th, with three males in fields at Park Farm and a female at Red Hill. A Stonechat which showed many characteristics of the continental race rubicola, was present at Eakring Flash from early morning and remained until dusk on 23rd. It initially favoured a grass track and rough vegetation near Eakring Flash, but then relocated to the north-eastern corner of Eakring Flash, where it remained for the rest of the day. Stonechat has never before produced an April record here, with late Winter and early Spring records all falling between inclusive dates of February 21-March 29th. The occurrence of this bird came over three weeks later than all previous records, but does follow an exceptional Spring passage which involved a total of 19 birds.

Although much of the sky was completely devoid of any notable visible migration for much of the time, there were still some occasional highlights. An unexpected record concerned two Hawfinch that flew north towards Lound Wood on April 6th, which was the first since August 1999. Another rarity of recent years has been Corn Bunting, so it was especially pleasing when one flew east over Eakring Flash on 27th (the first for five years)

First dates for other Summer migrants included Swallow 4th, Blackcap 7th, Willow Warbler 10th, Yellow Wagtail 17th, Grasshopper Warbler, Whitethroat, House Martin and Turtle Dove 21st, Lesser Whitethroat 22nd, Sedge Warbler 24th, Swift 27th and Garden Warbler 30th. There were no records of Cuckoo or Hobby this month.

     
May
A generally disappointing May, yet there was a selection of area rarities and a (not too surprising) addition to the area bird list around mid-month. Many late evening visits were spent listening for Quail as the month progressed, but apart from a possible bird reported calling once near Eakring village, there were no confirmed records during May.

Much of the month remained typically quiet as wildfowl settled down to breed, but seemed to have a poor early Spring and only a few broods were hatched successfully during the month. It remained very quiet for wader records, although two Oystercatchers in a set-aside field in the Red Hill area on the 10th and then one south-west over Eakring Flash on 15th, were welcome records. A very late Common Sandpiper headed north over Lound Wood at 21:55h on the 28th. This bird could possibly have spent the day at Eakring Flash, but there had been no daylight visits to confirm this.

The regular male Barn Owl showed extremely well during the early evening hours, hunting suitable sites even well away from the nest site. A big surprise was a Long-eared Owl at Eakring Flash and seen in daylight on both 15th and 25th, but not subsequently.

Grasshopper Warblers during the month, included pairs at Eakring Flash, Tug Bridge Farm and Penny Pasture Common. The first male Reed Warbler arrived back at Eakring Flash on 15th, with a second arriving a week later (22nd) before a third turned up on 25th.

A Nightjar flew over Lound Wood and headed south-west at 23:15h during a short moth trapping session on 20th. The bird was obviously a returning migrant and called four times times at regular intervals as it flew over, each time producing a slightly unusually toned short 'churr'. Always thought of as being a likely species to turn up, Nightjar has never been specifically looked for as there is no suitable habitat. However, they were reported a few years ago by surveyors in woodland near Bilsthorpe.

     
June
A typically quiet June, with very little of note. A Curlew over Eakring Flash on June 7th was notable for it's unusual early/late date, with Curlews often appearing here in late June or early July. Common Buzzards were in the area throughout, with a count of four at two sites on the 8th, being the best. Most of the near daily sightings consisted of single birds.

Reed Warblers continued to be present at Eakring Flash, with at least one pair breeding. Definite breeding occurred with Grasshopper Warbler, with a pair noted feeding young at the northern-end of Eakring Flash. Just one pair of Spotted Flycatchers were located in Eakring village, using the same hole in the wall as used successfully last year.

Two pairs of Barn Owl were located, both nest in opposing ends of the recording area, with both males noted hunting during the early evenings on many occasions.

     
July
Although there were numerous visits, the area remained very quiet for most of the month, despite a promising start with a Dunlin over Lound Wood during a moth-trapping session on 1st. It was'nt until the last week of the month that things picked up, producing further waders in the form of a Whimbrel west over Eakring Flash on 24th and a Common Sandpiper there on 26th.

Barn Owls continued to show well all month and Common Buzzards again bred in the area.

The latter half of July also saw the first signs of migration with small numbers of hirundines going overhead and a general increase in the number of warblers going through Eakring Flash and Eakring Meadows. Two Common Crossbill moving high north-west over Eakring Flash early morning of the 26th, was the year's second record.

     
August
A much better month with migration obviously well underway.

Following a blank Spring which failed to produce any records, a Hobby at Eakring Flash on 23rd was a welcome year tick. A juvenile female Peregrine landed in fields at Park Farm, before flying off east over Hare Hill Wood on 30th. Six Common Buzzards were over Red Hill on 21st.

Nocturnal wader passage was evident during some evening visits to the area, with Green Sandpipers heard over Lound Wood on both 8th and then again on 10th, whilst a Common Sandpiper flew over Red Hill on 12th. All birds were heard between 21:40 and 21:50h. After no records in 2007, it was nice to see a return to the number of Green Sandpiper records of years past, with one at Penny Pasture Common on 16th and two at Eakring Flash on 21st. The first returning Snipe of the Autumn was at Penny Pasture Common on 21st, with two there on 31st. Yellow-legged Gull sightings included three (two adults and a 2cy) in fields in the north of the recording area on 16th, an adult south and an adult and a 2cy in fields in the Red Hill area on 21st and one in fields east of Eakring Flash with c700 Lesser Black-backed Gull 29th. An adult was also in fields near Wellow on 30th.

Notable passerines included single Tree Pipits over Eakring Flash on 14th and 16th. One was present at Penny Pasture Common on 19th and a group of three moved south over Eakring Flash on 21st. A 1st Winter male Redstart was in the Hawthorns on Penny Pasture Common from 30-31st (remaining into September) whilst there were Whinchats at Eakring Flash (21st) and Penny Pasture Common (24th) A Wheatear was at Eakring Flash briefly on 31st. Migrant Spotted Flycatchers were in the pastures area on 24th and at Penny Pasture Common on 29th.

Tree Sparrow numbers continue to increase here, but counts still vary greatly as birds move from site to site around the area, but 35 at Tug Bridge Farm on 21st, represented one of the area's largest single counts. Another Common Crossbill (2nd 2008 record) flew north over Lound Wood on 24th.

     
September
Yet again, September proved to be the best month of the year, with a succession of rarities and an area first in the long awaited occurrence of Raven. Return afternoon visits also proved to be productive on several occasions, producing records of Honey Buzzard and Red Kite during what was an excellent month for raptors.

With an area of high pressure dominating the UK and near Continent's weather, the perfect conditions for raptor migration saw large numbers of Honey Buzzards arrive along the whole of the UK's east coast mid-month. With sightings also occurring further inland, efforts were made to cover the Eakring area during the early afternoon periods whenever possible. However, it was'nt until a few days after the main influx that an adult female Honey Buzzard appeared on level flight between Lound Wood and Red Hill, gained height on thermals and then drifted off high south over Red Hill late morning of the 21st. A week later there was a second record, when a dark-phase juvenile Honey Buzzard circled over Red Hill at the onset of clearer weather, gained height and drifted off very high north-east on 28th. The month got off to an excellent start when a juvenile Goshawk showed well in the Eakring Meadows area, before flying towards Parkhill Plantation and landing in an Oak on 1st. A distant wing-tagged (white tag on left wing) Red Kite remained well north of Lound Wood, before drifting off high north during the afternoon of the 13th. Against these rarer raptors were good numbers of Common Buzzards, of which a new record count of 17 Common Buzzards were over Red Hill on 13th, with 11 a few days later on 18th. Obviously, many of these were migrants or dispersing birds, as counts dropped over the course of September.

Records of Hobby consisted of singles moving through on 1st, 13th, 18th and 20th, with two at Eakring Field Farm (2nd) and two further single birds (14th) Peregrines included a juvenile male south-west on 1st and the juvenile female seen in August, was seen the same day. A Short-eared Owl was an unexpected early surprise at Penny Pasture Common from 13-14th and showed extremely well during it's stay. Raptor watching from the top of Red Hill provided two Raven low south on 20th. This was the first ever record for the area and one that was long overdue, especially given the number of Raven sightings in Nottinghamshire in recent years.

There were few waders around, but single Green Sandpipers were at Penny Pasture Common on 11th and 14th. Single Snipe flew south-west on 14th, 18th and 27th, with two north over Eakring Flash on 28th. A Water Rail arrived at Eakring Flash on 27th and remained till the end of the month at least. September also saw record numbers of Lesser Black-backed Gulls, which reached a maximum of 1 200 in fields around the Leyfields area on 20th. Not surprisingly, there were also records of Yellow-legged Gull, with an adult at Eakring Field Farm (21st) and five adults in fields in the Red Hill area on 25th.

Despite the generally fine weather, there was plenty of evidence of migration and although monthly counts for most species were nothing out of the ordinary, there were some exceptions. Swifts were noted moving south on 1st, 2nd and 14th and were the first September records since 2002. There was the best influx of Siskin through the area since 2001, with birds noted virtually daily and a monthly total of 178, included 35 south (13th) 59 south-east and south-west (14th) and 20 south (21st) Other species moving though the area in notable numbers were Turtle Dove (13 through) whilst Goldcrests and Coal Tits increased towards the end of the month. Visible migration counts produced 124 Meadow Pipit south on 13th, 133 south-east on 14th, 335 south and south-east on 18th, 227 south-east on 20th and 212 south on 21st. A flock of 82 Meadow Pipits were held up at Eakring Flash by poor weather on 28th and there were numerous Pied Wagtails in fields across the area the same morning, including two White Wagtails opposite Eakring Field Farm, before flying off south-west. There was to be no big push of Swallows, but 398 south and south-east on 14th, was the best count for some years.

August's 1st Winter male Redstart remained at Penny Pasture Common till 1st, and there were further Redstarts during the first half of the month, including a female at Eakring Flash on 2nd, a female at Penny Pasture Common on 3rd and an unseen bird at Tug Bridge Farm on 14th. Whinchat records saw a one arrive with a Redstart at Eakring Flash 2nd, whilst others were at Penny Pasture Common (6th) and Eakring Flash again on 11th. The only Wheatear of the month arrived with a Whinchat at Eakring Flash on 11th and a 1st Winter Stonechat was at Eakring Meadows on 27th.

Other migrants included a single Spotted Flycatcher at Penny Pasture Common on 13th and two at Red Hill 14th (part of an arrival at several sites elsewhere in Nottinghamshire the same day) Tree Pipits were at Penny Pasture Common 2nd, with singles south on 3rd and south-east on 14th. Good numbers of warblers passed through the area, with peak numbers early on in the month. Some monthly counts included 92 Chiffchaff and 14 Lesser Whitethroat. Late Willow Warblers were at Tug Bridge Farm (14th) and Eakring Flash (18th) A Common Crossbill flew low south-east over Eakring Flash on 6th and the first Redwing of the Autumn were a single high over Eakring Flash (25th) and three at Eakring village on 28th.

Tree Sparrow counts peaked with a flock of 47 at Penny Pasture Common/Eakring Field Farm on the 11th, then a flock of 20 along hedgerows at Red Hill on 18th.

     
October
Coverage was slightly restricted this month, but there was also a very quiet spell, during which there was very little of note. However, October was not without some highlights.

The first Pink-footed Geese of the year included three skiens on two dates, with 72 very high south-east over Eakring Flash on 16th, followed by 33 west and 78 north-west on 30th. A pair of Wigeon flew west over Eakring Flash on 30th. In general, there were very few wildfowl recorded. Even Teal were reduced to just a couple of isolated records of single birds at Penny Pasture Common. In general it was quite a poor month for many over-wintering species. A maximum count of just 33 Golden Plover in the area on the 30th, was very low, and Common Snipe only peaked at three at Eakring Meadows and Eakring Flash on 9th. The area's earliest ever Jack Snipe by a day, arrived at Penny Pasture Common on the 9th and remained for the rest of the month.

Common Buzzards reached a maximum of six birds on 5th, but two juvenile birds often frequented fields opposite Eakring Field Farm during the month, including one distinctive pale bird. The rarest raptor was the adult male Peregrine in the Park Farm and Hare Hill Wood areas on 18th.

Yellow-legged Gull sightings included a 2cy bird in fields at Church Hill (2nd) and an adult and a 3cy in fields at Eakring Flash (unusually) on the 11th. The first Water Rail of the Winter was present at the southern-end of Eakring Flash from 30th onwards.

Visible migration was rather limited through coverage, and whilst the east coast saw some large arrivals of thrushes and Starlings, the best of the counts on days Eakring was visited were 1 146 Fieldfare and 1 107 Redwing moving west and south-west 18th. Starling peaked at 1 090 west and Wood Pigeon 2 254 south on 30th. Good numbers of Chaffinches moved through the area again this October, with a new record single day count of 120 through on 18th, followed at the end of the month by a further 119 through on the 30th. The October total of 526 Chaffinches, was the highest ever monthly total, just beating the previous monthly record count of 522 back in October 2001. The only Brambling was a single through west on 30th, but rarer migrants included two records of Common Crossbill, with seven north over Eakring Flash (5th) and four south over Eakring Flash (16th) A 1st Winter Stonechat was at the southern-end of Eakring Flash briefly on the 9th.

There were very few late warblers noted during October, but a Lesser Whitethroat at Eakring Flash on 2nd, was the latest ever here. Other latest Summer migrant dates were Blackcap (2nd) Chiffchaff (5th) and Swallow (16th)

     
November
Coverage was again restricted, but November was a poor month generally. There was little evidence of visible migration and the highlights were typically representative of Autumn.

A very poor month for wildfowl, the best records easily being a drake Goosander south-west (13th) and a drake Wigeon on Eakring Flash on 15th. 250 Pink-footed Geese seen distantly moving south-east over Eakring village on 6th were not unexpected.

Eakring Flash held at least three Water Rail from 13-15th, with two there earlier in the month on the 6th and two continuing to be present after the 15th. Eakring Meadows held three Jack Snipe on 15th, but only one remained by 21st. However, this was an excellent total for November here. Common Snipe reached a peak of 20 at Eakring Meadows on 21st.

With little passerine movement throughout the month, it was surprising to note single Brambling moving through on 13th, 16th and 21st. 20 Chaffinch, 169 Fieldfare and 148 Starling all flew south-west on 13th. However, the real highlight of the month, was the Twite which flew east over Eakring Flash at 08:13h on 15th and was the first Eakring record since 2001.

     
December
Another generally quiet month, although there were some surprising records.

Wildfowl numbers remained extremely low, with only a drake Wigeon on Eakring Flash (25th) being anything like a highlight, as Wigeon continue to be uncommon visitors to the area. A much rarer record was the three adult Whooper Swan which flew low east over Eakring Flash on 20th, with c90 Pink-footed Geese going east over Penny Pasture Common on 24th, slightly more expected.

At least two Common Buzzards remained in the area all month, with birds favouring the Lound Wood/Leyfields area and in fields adjacent to Eakring Field Farm. A Peregrine was over Eakring Flash on the 24th.

A single Water Rail remained at Eakring Flash all month and a Jack Snipe was likewise at Penny Pasture Common, with two birds there on 11th. Common Snipe produced counts of 32 at both Penny Pasture Common and Eakring Meadows (11th) with 21 present in the same area on 24th.

There were few passerines around, with very small numbers of Fieldfare and Redwing noted, but a flock of 50 Linnet were near Penny Pasture Common on 24th.

The 2008 year list ended on 128 species for the year.

 
Information and sightings throughout the year supplied by Robin Brace, Trevor and Dilys Pendleton, Tony Wardell.
 
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