Fringe Box



Birdwatcher’s Diary No.16

Published on: 29 Aug, 2012
Updated on: 29 Aug, 2012

By Malcolm Fincham

Mustn’t grumble..! But with temperatures the previous weekend touching 30c it was quite pleasing for me to find it had cooled down into the lower 20c by Monday, August 20, when  I decided on taking a trip to Farlington Marshes near Portsmouth.  

A view across Langstone Harbour with Portsmouth’s Spinnaker tower in the background.

The journey took much less time than I had expected. The relativity new tunnel at Hindhead certainly makes a difference.

The circular walk around Farlington is always quite a pleasant one. There are views on one side out to Langstone Harbour and across to Portsmouth, and on the other there is brackish and fresh water marshland that include a few pools where waders often reside.

Spotted Flycatcher.

It’s one of many places along the south coast worth a visit during the next few weeks or so if one feels the need or has an opportunity  to say a last farewell to some of our summer migrants. They tend to drop in here for a food top up before making their long flights back to Africa.

Willow warbler at Farlington.

Although still fairly early, I was fortunate to see and take a few pictures of willow warblers and spotted flycatchers although a few other migrants are now starting to be reported such as yellow wagtails, wheatears and winchats.

Black-tailed godwits.

Other noticeable signs of summer coming to a close were flocks of linnets and goldfinches gathering together to feed on the thistles and among the brambles in the marshland area. Also, black-tailed godwit numbers are starting to increase in the wading pools.


A gathering of starlings.

The most noticeable changes in the Guildford area, especially in the vicinity of Stoke Lake, during the last week are that starlings now starting to gather together on the electrical pylons before disappearing off to their roosting site. Numbers have now increased to more than 100 on occasions, not quite the murmurations one sees or hears of when an influx of Eastern European starlings come to visit during the winter months.


Other birds starting to gather among the trees on the marsh are magpies. I believe the saying goes “one for sorrow, two for joy”, but not sure what equates to the 17 I counted going off to roost just before dusk on Wednesday, August 22.

Robins are singing again.

One other ‘noted’ change (to excuse the pun) is that the first few robins have started to sing again. I heard them at Stoke Lake and on a brief visit to Unstead. They had gone quiet during their moult after (hopefully) a successful breeding season and their feathers are now back to pristine condition.

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