Eakring Bird news
March 2004
Featuring news and sightings from Eakring
March 6th
Still quiet in the area, but some signs of Spring migration with small numbers of Meadow Pipits and Linnets flying north-west this morning. 100+ Fieldfare were in stubble fields at Eakring Field Farm and a Little Grebe was at Eakring Flash.
March 7th
A male Stonechat was at the northern-end of Eakring Flash this morning, although it quickly moved off north towards the Red Hill area and although it was seen along hedgerows at the time, it was not relocated later in the morning. The bird had presumably been brought down by the early morning rain and sleet just after dawn.

Stonechats continue to be rare here, but the timing of this sighting coincides nicely with the pattern of Spring records which have built up since the first Spring record in 2000. Eight out of nine of these have come within the period March 5-17th, with five of these alone, occurring on March 11th or 12th.

A Common Buzzard was in the Lound Wood area, late morning.

March 11th
Still very quiet in the area, though four Shelduck and six Pochard were on Eakring Flash this morning.
March 12th
A quick late morning visit to Eakring Flash, saw a pair of Goosander at the southern-end. Otherwise, there was little of note again today, apart from a flock of 23 Meadow Pipits in fields adjacent to Eakring Flash.
March 18th
There were record breaking numbers of Redwing recorded in the area today. No previous single Spring count has ever topped 100, but today there were large flocks both in the area and passing through high south. Two flocks totalling approximately 103 Redwing, went south over Eakring Flash early morning, with 70 at Kersall, two at Penny Pasture Common and then 161 in fields at Red Hill. The combined total of these counts was 336 Redwing. Surprisingly, Fieldfare remained largely scarce. The only migrants were a single flock of 73 moving north, but then large numbers were with Redwing in the Red Hill area. Fieldfare here amounted to approximately 188 birds. The first Chiffchaff of the year arrived at Eakring Flash this morning.
March 20th
A Peregrine was hunting the Leyfields area mid-morning and a Common Buzzard flew through the same area earlier. Strong south-westerly winds, meant that little was on the move, although a trickle of Meadow Pipits (21) went north-west. A single flock of 19 Common Gulls flew north over Eakring Flash early morning and a Chiffchaff was new in at Hare Hill Wood.

A count of the Brown Hare population throughout the morning, revealed that a minimum of 27 adults were in the area today. This was the first-ever attempt to actually count the population. More information on the area's Brown Hares can be found here.

March 21st
A Water Rail was at the southern-end of Eakring Flash this morning (per Tony Wardell) and was the first sighting of any of the over-wintering birds since February. A Grey Wagtail was present there early morning and three Siskin flew south-west.

In general the area was again rather quiet. This being largely due to the continued strong westerly winds, but it failed to stop 86 Meadow Pipits moving north-west. Also through today was the first White Wagtail of the Spring, whilst three Chiffchaffs were feeding along the sheltered side of High Trees, on the outskirts of Eakring village.

25 Golden Plover flew north-west over Tug Bridge Farm. At least 150 Fieldfare and much smaller numbers of Redwing were again at scattered locations this morning.

March 23rd
A short afternoon visit to the area, paid off with this female Stonechat along the fence at Penny Pasture Common, Eakring Meadows.

At Eakring Flash, five Sand Martins through were the first of the year and set a new earliest date by beating the previous record of March 25th, acheived in both 2000 and 2002.

Other birds in the area included a minimum total of 150 Fieldfare at Tug Bridge Farm and Eakring Field Farm and a Chiffchaff was in the Sallows at Eakring Flash.

March 25th
Two Common Buzzards were over Park Farm mid-morning. Fieldfare in the area, included 130 at Red Hill and 27 at Tug Bridge Farm. A singing male Chiffchaff was new at Oil Bore Holes in Eakring village.
March 26th
A male Stonechat was at Penny Pasture Common this morning, representing the third record of the month. Three in any Spring here, is an excellent total.

The two Common Buzzards which were seen yesterday, were in the Eakring Meadows area this morning.

Visible migration included 81 Meadow Pipits and 32 Fieldfare through north-west, with much smaller numbers of finches. A pair of Goosander were at Eakring Flash from mid-morning onwards and there were three new Chiffchaffs singing in the area this morning.

March 27th
A male Chiffchaff was at Eakring Flash with three Teal still there. At Eakring Meadows, 16 Snipe were around the reserve. Nearby, there continues to be a large finch/bunting flock, consisting of 100 Chaffinch, 20+ Yellowmahammer and 13 Linnets (per Tony Wardell and Robin Brace)
March 28th
150 Fieldfare and large numbers of Starlings, were in fields along the Kneesall road this morning (per Tony Wardell and Robin Brace)
March 29th
A quiet morning which did produce a decent movement of Meadow Pipits for the first hour or so, when 147 flew north and north-west. Group sizes initially gave thought to this being a busy morning and with 67 Fieldfare also heading north and north-east, prospects looked good. The expected numbers however, soon failed to appear, in what were excellent conditions for migrants. New Chiffchaffs were at High Trees and Lound Wood this morning and two Shelduck arrived at Eakring Flash.
March 30th
Three Swallows flew north through Eakring Flash this afternoon. This is only the second-ever March record of Swallow here and also represents the second earliest record. Other birds there today included the pair of Goosander again and a calling Water Rail (per Phil Ellis)
March 31st
A Woodcock was accidentally flushed from Lound Wood during the late evening. This bird is very likely a migrant, judging by the date.

Some late news came to me on April 2nd 2004, that a male Hen Harrier had been present in the Park Farm area, quartering the fields adjacent to Penny Pasture Common at Eakring Meadows. The bird was seen during the afternoon of March 31st, and was feeding on a Leveret. It was seen to head off in the general direction of Kersall. The same bird had also been reported a few days previously on March 29th.

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