Eakring Bird news
February 2005
Featuring news and sightings from Eakring
February 2nd
Little around late afternoon, but still one Water Rail present along the eastern-side of Eakring Flash. There has been an arrival of Coot today, with four new birds joining the adult which has over-wintered at Eakring Flash.
February 3rd
Very quiet again today, with now seven Coot back at Eakring Flash and 20 Pied Wagtail there.
February 5th
26 Pink-footed Geese flew west over Eakring Flash at 08:25am. 16 Gadwall and 55 Teal were at the same site this morning, with a further 15 Teal at Penny Pasture Common. Two Common Buzzards were over the Kneesall Road area.

Visible Migration - A single Meadow Pipit flew south-west and 40 Fieldfare went north-west.

February 6th
A decent morning in the area today, which produced several regular scarce birds. In the Eakring Meadows NR area, six Jack Snipe were flushed from two areas of suitable habitat, with 20 Common Snipe there. Four Common Snipe were also at Eakring Flash. The regular adult Peregrine was also hunting in the Penny Pasture Common/Park Farm area this morning.

At Eakring Flash, good numbers of wildfowl are beginning to build up. This morning, there were 24 Gadwall and 38 Teal present, with two Shelduck briefly. Teal were also at Penny Pasture Common, where there were an additional 43 birds, to those at Eakring Flash. 71 Meadow Pipits, were in the Church Hill area, favouring the sugar-beet field.

Visible Migration - A few early migrants through this morning, including single Meadow Pipit and Linnet north-west, five Greenfinch and a Chaffinch north.

February 8th
A female Merlin appeared briefly in the Eakring Flash/Red Hill area this morning. The bird arrived high from the south, before heading off west. This is still a rare bird here (this being the area's 9th record) but the first half of February has currently provided more Merlin records than any other period. Previous records include one moving east over Eakring Flash February 1st 1999, one moving high east over Eakring village February 16th 2002 and a female at Eakring Flash February 7th 2003.

A Wigeon flying east over Eakring Flash was another good sighting today. Starlings are beginning to build in numbers and the 450+ that were in fields east of Eakring Flash, represented a very large increase within a few days. Just eight Fieldfare were in the area this morning.

Visible Migration - Migrants this morning included two Yellowhammer west, four Meadow Pipit north and north-west and two Chaffinch north.

February 11th
A single Common Buzzard was distant over Red Hill late morning.
February 12th
Four Jack Snipe were in the Eakring Meadows NR area today, with the three regular birds at Penny Pasture Common and one elsewhere on the reserve. Also there, 20 Common Snipe (per Tony Wardell and Robin Brace)
February 13th
A short visit this morning provided nothing of note, but a pair of Goosander were on Eakring Flash late afternoon/early evening.
February 14th
A flock of approx 71 Golden Plover were in fields around Church Hill late morning.
February 15th
An increase in the number of Golden Plover in fields around Church Hill, with 259 present today and another eight in the Eakring Field Farm area. 80+ Lapwing were also in the same fields, but were flushed and flew off west. An adult female Peregrine was causing havoc with the corvids in the Red Hill area, before flying low east over Eakring Flash. The male Shelduck was again at the latter site briefly mid-morning.

Visible Migration - The only migrants noted this morning were three Greenfinch north-west.

February 16th
The drake Shelduck was again on Eakring Flash late afternoon, with 250+ Golden Plover and at least 87 Lapwing in adjacent fields. Two Coal Tit (rare at this site) )were along the old hedge and heading towards Lound Wood.
February 17th
The first Pochard of the year arrived at Eakring Flash overnight, with a pair present this morning. A Water Rail along the eastern-side, was the first sighting since the beginning of February and was heard to call once.

Visible Migration - Migrants noted included single Greenfinch north and north-west, with two Meadow Pipit north.

February 19th
The drake Shelduck, female Pochard and six Teal were at Eakring Flash late afternoon. A Common Buzzard flew low over Eakring village and presumably into roost at Lound Wood.
February 20th
Six Teal were again at Eakring Flash this morning, but rarer wildfowl there included two drake Shoveler (the first since 2003) a pair of Goosander and two Shelduck. Nearby, three Common Buzzards were present on and off all morning, whilst 65 Golden Plover appeared in fields briefly adjacent to Eakring Flash. 52 Lapwing went south-west, but were probably part of the large flock that has been associating with the Golden Plover recently.

Visible Migration - Migrants struggling against the wind included a single Greenfinch north-east, two Meadow Pipit north-west and three Song Thrush east. Small numbers of most gulls (four Common, six Black-headed, eight Herring and five Lesser Black-backed) were moving north and north-west, indicative of a genuine return passage through the area.

February 22nd
A male Merlin was at Eakring Flash for ten minutes this morning (from 08:40am) settling in the dead trees in the middle of the water, before becoming more distant in the Red Hill area, where some record photographs were taken. The bird gave stunning views as it left Eakring Flash.

This is now the latest Winter/Spring Merlin record for the area and follows the bird seen at Eakring Flash on February 8th. It beats the previous record of February 16th 2002 by nearly a week.

Also at the same site were six Goosander, a total that included four drakes. Four of these flew off to leave the pair present recently on 13th and 20th, but three returned later in the morning. A Water Rail was again heard calling at the southern-end of the flash.

February 23rd
A mid-afternoon visit to Eakring Flash saw 200+ Fieldfare in adjacent fields, with 78 Starling. 48 Golden Plover were distant over Leyfields.
February 24th
Five Goosander, six Teal and two Shelduck were on Eakring Flash this morning, with 11 Golden Plover in fields around the Church Hill/Tug Bridge Farm area.
February 26th
A Water Rail was again present at the southern-end of the flash, calling several times around 17:30pm this evening. Two Shelduck were still on site and 130 Fieldfare were in fields around the flash.
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