Eakring Birds 2005
A monthly review
Initial expectations that January would be quiet, seemed to have been fulfilled by the end of the month. However, when reviewing the records (and the species produced) the opening four weeks to 2005, had actually produced some notable species. Once again, certain sites within the area, showed their ornithological value at a county level.

The traditional north-westerly movements of Pink-footed Geese were in evidence during the second half of January. In more southerly parts of Nottinghamshire, Leicestershire and Derbyshire, an unusually large Pink-footed Goose movement took place on January 23rd and then again on 29th. The timing of both movements was also unusual in that birds appeared over both Eakring and the rest of Nottinghamshire from around mid-day onwards and movements generally continued until late afternoon. Pink-footed Geese usually can be expected around two hours after first light. The first sighting over Eakring was of 72 flying west on 22nd. This was followed by 53 north-west on 23rd (over 7500 from other south Notts sites the same day) before the second large movement over Nottinghamshire occurred on 29th, of which 471 went north-west over Eakring Flash mid-afternoon.

January also saw good numbers of wildfowl return to Eakring Flash. 11 Teal were there on the 2nd, but counts from Penny Pasture Common rose from 51 (6th) to 70+ on 30th. 30 were again at Penny Pasture Common, with another six at Eakring Flash on 27th. More unexpected was the high count of Gadwall at Eakring Flash. Birds were present on most mornings, following an arrival of 33 birds on 20th. Some 24 were again present on 27th, but most counts involved 9-16 birds.

The only Goosander sighting, concerned a female at Eakring Flash on 13th, whilst the first Shelduck of the year appeared from 22-23rd.

Common Buzzards were again present in the area, with one/two frequenting the Lound Wood/Red Hill and Eakring Meadows areas throughout. The adult Peregrine was again in the Eakring Meadows/Park Farm area on 6th. It or another was high over Eakring Flash on 21st, before going east. Eakring Flash continued to hold at least one Water Rail, seen on both 6th and 13th, but was present throughout and a single Coot remained. Three pairs of Grey Partridge were in the Eakring Flash area on 22nd.

27 Golden Plover near Eakring village on 23rd, was the only sighting during January. Golden Plovers are not regular here until late February-March. Eakring Meadows again produced Jack Snipe, with four present on 6th, a count which included three at Penny Pasture Common and another elsewhere on the reserve. Other Jack Snipe reported from the same site, were two on 22nd and a single on 30th. It is likely that the minimum count during the month was four. Numbers of Common Snipe peaked at 29 on 6th, with seven birds at Eakring Flash and a further 23 at Eakring Meadows. Other counts included 15 at Eakring Meadows on 8th and 20 at the same site on 22nd. A Woodcock was in with Common Snipe at Eakring Meadows on 8th and was presumably the same bird seen there during late 2004.

Aside from a highest count of 104 Herring Gull mostly north or north-west, there were no other notable gull counts during January.

Blackbirds continued to be present throughout the area, but counts dwindled as the month progressed, whilst there were relatively few Song Thrush found, although the hedgerows around Eakring Meadows and Kersall did continue to hold small numbers. There was a poor showing of Scandinavian thrushes. Redwing reached a highest count of 36 in the pastures area on 6th, whilst Fieldfare numbers ranged from 30 in fields around Church Hill ( 6th) to 150 on 8th. The same flock transferred to Eakring Flash/Leyfields Farm areas, with 151 present on 17th and 225 on 21st. 168 were at Kersall (20th) Set-aside along the Kneesall Road attracted over 20 Tree Sparrows, in with around 30 Chaffinch. No large finch/bunting flocks were found in the area and Linnet peaked at a poor count of 14 on 2nd.

February opened mild, but a lengthy period of cold weather ensued from mid-month onwards and brought the first snow of the Winter.

After large numbers vacated Norfolk in January, the 26 Pink-footed Geese moving west over the area on the 5th, were not surprisingly the month's only record. One of February's highlights, was the range of wildfowl produced. Regular species included Shelduck (one/two birds on 6th, 15th, 24th, 26th and 27th) Gadwall and Teal. Good numbers of Gadwall remained from January and numbers at Eakring Flash increased from 16 on 5th, to peak at 24 on 6th. After this date, there were no further sightings all month. Penny Pasture Common and Eakring Flash produced an excellent area count of 70 Teal on the 5th, increasing to 81 the following day. Counts rapidly dwindled and for the remainder of the month, six birds remained in the Eakring Flash area. Much rarer records included a single Wigeon one moving east (8th) and two drake Shoveler at Eakring Flash on 20th. The first returning Pochard appeared on 17th, with one remaining till the 19th. Goosander records involved a pair on several dates from 13-20th, but counts of six (22nd) and five (24th) were notable. February continues to produce the peak in Goosander records.

Common Buzzard sightings included two in the area (5th) with singles on both 11th and 19th. Three were present in the Eakring Flash/Lound Wood areas on 20th, including one bird new to the area. The adult Peregrine was seen at Eakring Meadows on 6th and then again in the Red Hill/Eakring Flash area, before flying off low east on the 15th. There were two records of Merlin, with birds on both 8th and 22nd. A female appeared briefly in the Eakring Flash/Red Hill area on the 8th, arriving high from the south before heading off west. Then a male was at Eakring Flash for ten minutes (22nd) settling in the dead trees in the middle of the water, before flying off and becoming more distant in the Red Hill area, where some record photographs were taken. The bird gave stunning views as it left Eakring Flash and is now the latest Winter/Spring Merlin record for the area, beating the previous record of February 16th 2002 by nearly a week. Merlin is still a rare bird here, with these being the area's 9th and 10th records. February has currently provided more Merlin records than any other period. Prior to 2005, previous occurrences included birds on February 1st 1999, February 16th 2002 and February 7th 2003.

Eakring Flash held at least one Water Rail all month, which began to be heard more frequently than was actually seen. The over-wintering Coot was joined by four returning birds on 2nd. With a further arrival the following day, counts at Eakring Flash reached eight. Pairs also returned to Kersall Pond and Eakring Meadows during the month as birds dispersed from Eakring Flash.

Golden Plover were recorded on numerous February dates. 71 were in fields around Church Hill on 14th, with 267 present from 15-16th. A flock of 65 were briefly at Eakring Flash on 20th. Sometimes accompanying the Golden Plover were varying numbers of Lapwing, but these were considerably more sporadic in occurrences. A highest count of 80+ was made on 15th, then 52 on 20th. An excellent site count of six Jack Snipe was made at Eakring Meadows (6th) with at least four birds still present on the 12th. 20 Common Snipe remained from 6-12th.

Limited amounts of visible migration consisted mostly of Greenfinches heading north, but a few early Meadow Pipits also moved through. A flock of 71 Meadow Pipits were in the former sugar-beet field near Church Hill on 6th. Pied Wagtail numbered 20 at Eakring Flash, before flying off to roost on 3rd and Starling counts reached 450+ in fields east of Eakring Flash (8th) Fieldfare included 200+ at Eakring Flash on 24th, with 130 there from 26-27th, whilst Redwing remained very scarce. Two Coal Tits were unusual visitors to Eakring Flash on 16th and another was there later in the month, indicating some possible local return movement.

The month was quiet, producing both lingering Winter visitors and the first returning Summer migrants. By the end of March, the current year list stood at 83 species.

Wildfowl counts were unexpectedly low. A pair of Shelduck were present at Eakring Flash on numerous days and theis continued presence seemed to indicate a futre breeding attempt later in the Spring. Tufted Duck peaked at five on 20th and a count of six Pochard (26th) was never bettered. The cold weather at the start of the month produced some good counts of Goosander. Eight were at Eakring Flash on the 3rd, with six (5th) before another good count of seven on 6th. Other sightings involved a pair on 11th, then again 28th. Teal completely vacated the area earlier than in any previous year, but a pair were again at Eakring Flash on both 26th and 28th.

Common Buzzard sightings continue to increase and birds are probably present in the area virtually continuously. March saw records of single birds on 5th, 11th, 15th and 19th, with two on both 20th, 24th, 26th. Three over Lound Wood on 22nd included a pair displaying. A pale-phase bird was in the Lound Wood/Eakring Flash area 26-28th. The long-staying Peregrine was last seen hunting Wood Pigeon over Park Farm on 11th and yet another Merlin flew low west over Red Hill at 16:45pm on the 14th, before settling at the top of a dead tree. This was the third record of the year, the first ever in March and is thought to be a different bird to the male seen last month

A flock of Golden Plover was in the area until the 10th. 18 were initially at Eakring Field Farm (3rd) before at least 70 were around Church Hill on 5th, with 68 there the next day. 31 were again at Church Hill on 10th. A pre-breeding flock of 28 Lapwing was present from the 9th, but afterwards only around six pairs remained in terriories around Eakring Field Farm/Park Farm and Red Hill. Two Jack Snipe remained at Penny Pasture Common on 3rd, before the last was seen on the 6th. The only count of Common Snipe was of 14 at Eakring Meadows (3rd) Rarest wader of the month were the single Curlews south-west on 24th and north-west (26th)

Gull counts were low and the only notable counts were 61 Black-headed Gull (5th) and 19 Common Gull on 6th. There was a slight increase in Lesser Black-backed Gulls numbers as birds moved north through the area.

Visible migration increased during March, but was virtually halted by a period of easterly winds, bringing heavily overcast and often foggy conditions. A count of just 40 Meadow Pipit on 17th was the highest count. This situation also applied to all Pennine vantage points. A Grey Wagtail moving west on 15th, was the first of the year. The commonest species recorded during limited migration watches was Fieldfare. 142 flew west and north-west on 20th, but combined area counts reached respectable totals of 400 (6th) and 317 (15th) As usual, the pastures at Tug Bridge Farm attracted good numbers, with 350 there on 22nd, rising to 500 by the 23rd. Visible migration totals included small numbers of most finches, but five Sparrow minimum of five on 6th Kneesall Road,19 in area on 20th, Brambling moving east on 24th, was the highest Spring count.Tree Sparrows included a minimum of five in set-aside along the Kneesall Road on 6th, but was bettered by a combined area total of 19 on 20th. Summer migrants appeared with the first returning Chiffchaff at High Trees on 19th, followed by a more general arrival from 24th onwards. A Swallow moving east over Eakring Meadows on 27th, finally broke the long-standing earliest record which had remained since 1998.

An excellent month, proving April to be one of the best months of the year.

Little Grebes arrived at Eakring Flash early in the month with a single there on 2nd and then followed by three birds on two dates. Most sightings involved pairs both here and at Kersall Pond throughout the month. Teal remained in the area till 24th, with pairs at Eakring Flash and occasionally at Penny Pasture Common. Otherwise there was little wildfowl of note during April, although two Goosander were present (4th) Potential breeding Gadwall counts once again nearly equalled those of Mallard.

It was an excellent month for raptors. Common Buzzards were present throughout the month, with a probable total of seven on 23rd being an exceptional highest Spring count. Three over Hare Hill Wood mid-morning, were joined by two single birds that came in from the south-west, before eventually continuing north-east. Two were also over Lound Wood in the afternoon, meaning that there were probably up to seven birds in the area that day. Other Common Buzzard sightings included four on 12th, three on both 9th and 10th (including a pale phase bird) Two were present in the Hare Hill Wood area on 5th, 11th and 24th and one on 27th. A reliable report of two Red Kites in trees at Red Hill before flying off north, almost certainly involved passage migrants. This sighting was passed onto me late in April and did'nt appear on the latest bird news page at the time. There were two records of Ospreys within a three day period. One approached low from the direction of Duke's Wood (south-east) and continued low north-west over the outskirts of Eakring village (9th) and another was watched distantly as it flew north over Eakring Flash and Lound Wood 11th. This latter bird apparently nearly landed at High Trees, being seen by a rather surprised owner. The first Hobby of 2005 went north over Eakring Flash late evening of the 29th.

Golden Plover remained in numbers around the Park Farm area slightly later this year. 44 were in Bean Fields on 9th, before counts rose to 118 with 21 went west (10th) Between 40 and 90 birds were noted from 11-21st. By the last week of April, the flock reduced to just 23 on the 25th and two on 29th were the last of the month. Other waders were noted during the final week of April with records of two Little Ringed Plover north-west on 25th, a Common Sandpiper (26th) was present all day at Eakring Flash after having obviously arrived at some point during the night. It represented the sixth record for the area and the first ever in Spring. Two Whimbrel went north-west over Eakring Flash on 25th, followed by a single bird north-west on 27th. The only records of Snipe included two at Penny Pasture Common (10th) with 12 around Eakring Meadows on 14th.

Small numbers of all the regular gulls occurred during the month, with Lesser Black-backed Gull being the most numerous as a north-west passage continued. A Common Gull flew east over Eakring Flash on 23rd. A Common Tern flew north over Eakring Flash on 26th.

An unexpected find mid-month was the Short-eared Owl, seen in the pastures area south of Eakring Flash, then shortly after hunting fields between Eakring Flash and Lound Wood on the 10th. It is possible that the bird was actively migrating north-west through the area.

Summer migrants to arrive were Cuckoo moving east on 28th (latest ever arrival date) and north-east on 30th. Unusually, no males held territory during April for the first time ever. Last year, I voiced my concerns over the lack of Cuckoos, both in the Eakring area and at many other sites I visited and this trend seems to be continuing. Other Summer migrants were also in unusually short supply for the closing days of April. Although most warblers arrived on time, numbers of calling males were well down on corresponding dates from previous years. Daily arrivals were rather flat in comparison to the typical distinct arrival peak of late April. This could be down to unsettled weather across France and Spain at the time, halting northerly movements of many species.

Of the scarcer passerines, single Turtle Doves went north-west on 26th and 27th, with three calling males in Eakring village on the 30th, all newly arrived that morning and giving increased hope of a successful increase in numbers this year. Some of these birds, were away from more traditional sites. Increased development within Eakring village, does still pose a major problem for the future. Hirundine arrival dates were Sand Martin (4th) and House Martin (21st) The first returning Swallow was back in territory at Eakring on 5th, but disappeared at the onset of a short cold-spell, before returning again on the 8th. 50 Swallow moved through on 30th. The first Swift of the year, saw three moving north on 24th which were part of a general arrival across much of the UK that day.

The month's only record of White Wagtail was of a male at Tug Bridge Farm on 26th. Even rarer was the Tree Pipit which flew north on 30th. Visible migration totals for April included 279 Meadow Pipit, 123 Swallow, 20 Yellow Wagtail, 61 Goldfinch and 144 Linnet. A superb male Redstart was in the Hawthorns at Penny Pasture Common 11th, whilst Wheatears were at Park Farm from 10-11th and Tug Bridge Farm 26th. The 30th saw three Greenland Wheatears arrive at Eakring Flash as birds were grounded during heavy rain. These also coincided with large numbers of Wheatears, including many birds of the Greenland race at Spurn Point Yorkshire.

Of the Winter visitors, only Fieldfare were recorded. Four were at Penny Pasture Common on the 4th, with a single there (10th) One was finally in the paddocks on the edge of Eakring village on 12th.

An eventful month, providing the area's first Montagu's Harrier, two Arctic Tern records, Quail and both Long-eared and Short-eared Owls. Two male Reed Warblers provided new breeding interest when one succeeded in attracting a mate. The only wildfowl of note during what is normally a quiet month was the welcome return of Ruddy Duck to Eakring Flash. Following the arrival of a male on 7th, a further pair arrived on 10th. The single male remained for much of the month, but only the pair remained into June.

The month's real highlight was the first area record of Montagu's Harrier, with one over Eakring Flash at 15:55h (3rd) The bird came from the north (unseen until directly overhead) and all the time was gaining height, circling and slowly drifting off south. When at a considerable height it then veered off to the south-west and was lost from view. The bird was probably a male, but sexing was difficult due to the angle of sunlight. Most of the identification was based upon shape - appearing longer and more narrow-winged than Hen Harrier, with a relatively bouyant flight action. Further raptor records included an excellent passage of Common Buzzards through the area between 10th and 15th. A minimum of 13 birds were involved, most of which were seen moving high north or north-east. Individuals/sightings were - one high north 10th, three single birds moving high north and two going south-east on 11th (Common Buzzards were also noted going north through another Notts site on this date) three birds heading high north-east 12th, two north-east 13th and finally two on 15th. A single Hobby went north over Eakring Flash late evening of the 13th and was the only May sighting.

In what was one of the best ever Mays for rarities, once again Quail were found. A male at Eakring Flash (12th) called intermittantly around mid-morning. The bird was in cereal fields just north of Eakring Flash and situated close to the public footpath that runs directly north between Eakring Flash and Lound Wood. This was the first record since a brief calling male near Lound Wood in June 2002 and it's arrival has coincided once again, with an area of high pressure and easterly-biased winds. Not surprisingly, another was located next morning at the southern-end of Eakring Flash and remained until 14th.By May 15th, just one bird was calling and called well during the evening for the first time during it's stay. It was quite surprising when there was no subsequent sign over the following evenings.

Whimbrel were noted on three dates (all singles) going north-west over Eakring Flash (1st) north-west over Eakring Meadows 2nd and north over Eakring Flash again (12th) A Redshank at Eakring Flash on the 1st, was typically brief before flying off south-east. The excellent run of rarities continued during the first week of the month and following the Montagu's Harrier of the 3rd, nine Arctic Terns interrupted an extremely quiet morning when they flew low and north over Eakring Flash on 4th. The weather at the time was cool and overcast with some occasional rain and a northerly breeze (fairly typical conditions to attract terns here) but three more which flew north over Eakring Flash with a group of seven Black-headed Gulls (7th) came during a fine sunny morning, with a brisk westerly wind.

A Short-eared Owl circling over Red Hill early on the 1st, gained height and went above the low cloud-base before appearing to move off east. Listening for Quail on the 18th, provided views of an owl hunting around Eakring Flash. Long-eared Owl was suspected, but because of the poor light conditions, a conclusive identification was impossible. The general feeling by the four observers present however, was that Long-eared Owl was most likely candidate (most especially) based on time of year, but also on the apparent lack of any white trailing-edge to the wings from the views that were obtained. The area's two previous Long-eared Owl records occurred back in mid-July 2001 and mid-June 2002. Some 11 days after the initial sighting at Eakring Flash, the bird was finally seen again and in evening sunlight, quartering meadowland at Red Hill on both 29th and 30th.

It was another poor year for Cuckoo's. Despite sightings on 3rd, 7th and 8th, probably only one bird was involved in all of these and again in other areas around Eakring, Mansfield Woodhouse, Warsop, Ossington and parts of the Dukeries and Sherwood Forest - I only managed to locate one singing male.

Chats were represented by a single Whinchat at Penny Pasture Common (1st) whilst a late female Wheatear was around the manure heaps at Church Hill on 11th. Whinchat is another species with a very poor Spring showing here in recent years.

Some exciting developments included Garden Warbler breeding at Eakring Flash for the first time, followed shortly after by the arrival of a male Reed Warbler along the western-side of Eakring Flash on 15th. This was only the second Spring Reed Warbler record here and a further surprise was when another male turned up from May 29th onwards. A breeding attempt looked likely, when the first male attracted a female from 31st. The only Grasshopper Warbler of the month, was a male heard reeling intermittantly from a ditch near Eakring Flash on 3rd.

Wildfowl continued a good breeding season and there were at least five Gadwall broods around the area, the pair of Ruddy Duck remained from May and looked set to breed at Eakring Flash, being joined by another male on 28th. A female Pochard also turned up the same day and was the only such record for the month. Raptors included single Common Buzzards seen on two occasions, whilst there was a Hobby high over Eakring Flash on the 8th, then another bird at Lound Wood at the end of the month (29th)

Early returning waders included two Curlew moving west over Red Hill on the evening of the 14th and a Green Sandpiper at Eakring Flash on 19th. Rarest waders were the two Oystercatchers which circled over Eakring Flash on 23rd, followed a few days later by another, noted from the edge of the recording area moving south on 27th.

The Long-eared Owl was finally seen again (14th) when it was hunting meadowland and seen to successfully catch prey on at least one occasion. Despite regular visits to the area throughout June, this was the first time the bird had shown since late May and going by the direction of flight whilst carrying prey, breeding occurred successfully, but just outside the recording area.

Another rare June record was the Cuckoo noted flying east over Red Hill on 26th. Once again, Cuckoos failed to hold territory in the area and despite sightings on about five dates, the Eakring area was once again devoid of the most evocative sound of Spring.

Reed Warblers continued to remain at Eakring Flash, with the two males noted in May remaining until the 18th, then were suddenly joined by possibly two more males on 19th. Between 20-23rd, there were definately three present. Another new warbler that arrived mid-month, was the male Grasshopper Warbler at Red Hill from 14-17th. The pair of Garden Warblers remained at Eakring Flash and there were increased numbers of Lesser Whitethroats throughout the area. Other sightings during June, included one/two Turtle Doves on several occasions around the Eakring Flash and pastures area, a high count of over 700 Swifts were feeding over fields around Eakring Flash (29th) whilst the numbers of Lesser Black-backed Gulls reached a total of 141 north-east over Red Hill on 16th.

July was quiet for wildfowl and there were no expected early records of species such as Teal and Wigeon. The Ruddy Duck pair remained until 28th and were joined by an additonal bird on the 9th. Single Common Buzzards were over Lound Wood on 3rd,18th and 21st and a Long-eared Owl, which was found roosting along the old hedge at Eakring Flash (5th) was the real raptor highlight.

Waders (not surprisingly) featured quite strongly with single Curlew west over Eakring Flash on the 7th and north-west over Eakring village on 30th. July also produced a Little Ringed Plover south-east over Eakring Flash (9th) and a Ruff north-east over Eakring Flash (28th) Green Sandpipers were at Eakring Flash briefly on 17th and 30th, as water levels dropped slightly, whilst a Whimbrel was the highlight of a quiet morning, flying south-west over Eakring Flash on 31st.

The first returning Common Gull included three moving west with several groups of Black-headed Gulls (7th) on a day which marked a distinct westerly passage of the latter. Two Yellow-legged Gulls arrived with about 20 Lesser Black-backed Gulls and a handful of Black-headed Gulls on 24th, dropping into fields near Eakring Flash mid-evening.

A male Grasshopper Warbler at Eakring Flash from 7-14th was often in full song from dusk onwards, although it did go quiet for several days. It favoured small Hawthorns in the rough vegetation near the public footpath running alongside the old hedge and showed well on occasions. Two pairs of Reed Warblers remained at Eakring Flash, with three singing males again being noted on 16th. Adult Sedge Warblers did their usual July disappearing act, but several juveniles remained all month.

After more than a decade, Barn Owls finally returned to breed at one site in the area. Found on July 7th, an adult wearing a silver ring on it's right leg and reportedly rung by the North Notts Ringing Group several miles away at Laxton, was watched during the sunny late evening. It hunted extremely successfully along recently created set-aside strips and took several voles back to the nest site where young birds could be heard. Barn Owls have always been extremely rare here and my own three previous sightings have only been augmented a handful of times, by people actually living in the area. Up until the 1990's, Barn Owl pairs were known to number around seven. Most of these were in the Eakring area, but all disappeared and the only regular site for seeing Barn Owl here, has been from the north of the recording area near Wellow.

Visible migration gained momentum as the month progressed and counts included good numbers of Sand Martin (28th) when a record 103 went through Eakring Flash. An additional 28 were over Eakring Flash during heavy rain on the evening of the 24th. There were also some large accumulations of feeding Swift in the area on several dates, but definite movements did include 131 south-west (14th) 508 south-west during the mid/late afternoon (25th) then 1270 north-west on 30th. This large movement initially began with a group of 35 moving south-west, immediately followed by 490 moving south-east ahead of the rain during the morning. All movement occurred after the lifting of low cloud. Durning the same evening, it was again obvious that Swifts were moving, this time heading north-west into the wind. A total of 745 were counted, including three strung out groups of 100+ birds.

The first Spotted Flycatcher of the year finally appeared at Eakring Flash late in the month. Two sightings included an adult feeding two young along the old hedge 21st and three (two adults and a juvenile) again feeding along the old hedge on 30th. Other sightings during July included 14 Tree Sparrows in the pastures/Eakring Flash area (28th) whilst two Common Crossbill flew low south-west over Eakring Flash on 21st. Crossbills have now occurred here in four of the eight years recording and have produced a total of five records. Crossbills were also reported from several other sites in the county around the same time.

An early Shoveler at Eakring Flash on 12th, was the only notable duck during the whole of the month and as it progressed, August provided even fewer numbers of the usual common species.

Good numbers of Common Buzzards were in the area and birds were noted on most visits. Five were in the Leyfields area of Eakring Flash on both 4th and 17th, but a new record count of at least ten, were in the Hare Hill Wood/Parkhill Plantation and Red Hill areas on the 25th. The only Hobby seen, was a juvenile hunting hirundines near Eakring Flash on 25th. An unusual record was of a Barn Owl at Eakring Flash mid-morning of the 31st.

Numbers of Lapwing grew from 35 at Eakring Flash (13th) to over 100 in fileds at Eakring Filed Farm by end of month.

One of the highlights were the two Common Terns seen on 13th, which unusually spent well over an hour at Eakring Flash on a particularly wet morning, being present from 08:30-09:45h. Autumn Common Tern records are still rare here, with July providing the bulk of the area's records.

Although there were few migratory counts made, record numbers of Swifts were in the area (4th) when an estimated 2 000+ feeding on insects over recently harvested fields in the Eakring Flash and surrounding area 1st. At least 500 were again present on the 4th.

Other records during August included an immature male Redstart, found along the new hedge at the southern-end of Eakring Flash (25th) with a Whinchat at the same location (30th) single Spotted Flycatchers were along the old hedge on 17th and 31st and a briefly singing juvenile Grasshopper Warbler at the southern-end of Eakring Flash 25th. A Reed Warbler at Eakring Flash on the 21st, was though to be a migrant, rather than any of the Summer's breeding birds.

Several skiens of Pink-footed Geese (combined total 305 birds) all flew south-east on 17th. This beat the previous earliest Autumn record by a day. The same day also saw five Egyptian Geese over Eakring Flash. 28 Teal flew over Eakring Flash on the 1st.

A good count of ten Yellow Wagtail came from the Eakring Flash/pastures area on 1st. Another notable passerine count, was the 14 Tree Sparrow at Penny Pasture Common (1st) The 1st also saw three Whinchat arrive at Eakring Flash on 1st, with another there on 9th. Chat passage was confirmed when a Wheatear was in the large field next to Eakring Flash on the 2nd. Warbler records from Eakring Flash included three Lesser Whitethroat (1st) two Whitethroat (9th) and two Chiffchaff on 17th

There were regular sightings of Common Buzzards during September, and following two over Lound Wood on the 1st, six were present on 9th over Lound Wood. Two Hobby were distant over Red Hill on 9th.

October, November and December.
A good site count of 43 Teal was made at Eakring Flash (December 4th) accompanied by a single Wigeon. Two Goosander were present briefly at Eakring Flash on both December 15th and 18th, whilst a Water Rail there on the latter date was the first of the Autumn/Winter period..

The only reported visit to the area during October, revealed a male Stonechat along roadside hedges near Wellow village on the 27th. A small group of Lesser Redpoll at Eakring Flash throughout, initially totalled five on October 27th and peaked at 17 on November 13th before numbers fell again during December.

A Jack Snipe was at Eakring Meadows (November 28-December 20th at least) with a maximum count of 15 Snipe around Penny Pasture Common and the rest of the Eakring Meadows reserve.

Information and sightings supplied by L Allcock, R Brace, D Burrows, S Dunn, R Haynes, T Pendleton, S Robins, D Smith and T Wardell.
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