Great Crested Grebe

These articles are written for the CR6 magazine and reproduced here with the permission of the author, Brian Hobley (01883 625404). If you would like to reproduce them in your magazine, it would be courteous to ask him. 

Spring is sprung I think, a trip to Bough Beech Reservoir produced 5 common scoter sea ducks taking a break on their way to their Arctic breeding grounds. Merston Lakes hosted a whitefront goose from Russia, a ring-necked duck from America plus little ringed plovers and a sedge warbler back from Africa.
A second trip to Bough Beech on the 6th produced a large mixed flock of swallows, sand martins and house martins feeding low over the water whilst dodging snow flurries!
Locally the only thing of interest was a lapwing where they bred last year – so fingers crossed. Keep looking and feeding and don't forget to check hedges or shrubs for nests if you're pruning or trimming.

Brian Hobley

Hopefully, we will soon be allowed out of house arrest and can go birding again… Things are starting to look up however, 30 species in and over the garden since New Year. Siskins, a small finch with a yellow rump and a black cap on the male, gold crest and two bullfinches with their white rumps flashing across the garden are the latest. A sparrowhawk seen in Westhall Road, fieldfares, blackcaps and redpoll in Oakley Road - all good birds.
On the downside - the devastation of ash trees due to ash die-back near roads for safety reasons is understandable, but hearing of a plan to clear fell Lumberdene Wood in SPRING in the height of the breeding season is a travesty. Birds' nests and badger sets destroyed - this would drive a bulldozer through Wild LIfe legislation - so much for protection. Keep looking and feeding and KEEP SAFE
Brian Hobley

Not a lot different from last month, though there are signs of spring 2 robins together and not fighting - they must be a pair.
Thank you to all of you who took part in the Big Garden Bird Watch the biggest ever 850,000 and still counting - almost double last year's total.
Our RSPB group had our indoor meeting on Zoom last night about 50 people logged in including this technophobe! If anyone would like to join us check our web site at  
The highlights in the garden, apart from counting 30 house sparrows have been fly-over red kite, black headed and common gulls, a buzzard, song thrush, redwing and wren. A charm of 17 goldfinches was a nice surprise. 
Keep looking and feeding and keep safe.

Brian Hobley

Back again after a winter break in Kingsfold ward at East Surrey Hospital. The team there were brilliant - Florence Nightingale would be proud! Back to bird business - 10 days into the new year and I have had 20 species of birds into the garden: blackbirds, song thrush, robin, dunnock, great, blue and long tailed tits, nuthatch, chaffinches, goldfinches, wren, great spotted woodpecker, ring necked parakeet and lots of house sparrows. One of the house sparrows is a leucistic bird - which means it lacks pigment in its feathers, some of which remain white. A very strange-looking bird but not as white as the bird photographed (see photo) at the Lost Gardens of Heligan which was almost all white.
Brian Hobley