Fringe Box



Birdwatcher’s Diary No.17

Published on: 10 Sep, 2012
Updated on: 10 Sep, 2012

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By Malcolm Fincham

An end to the month of August brought a second full moon, often referred to as a blue moon (in name only) because of its rare occurrence. It also brought a change in the weather with a dry and settled spell. Although temperatures remained warm, a number of subtle changes were continuing to take place especially in the Stoke Lake area of Guildford.

A squadron of Canadian geese take flight.

Increasing amounts of Canadian geese are now starting to gather on the lake throughout the day (more than 100 most days) and feed presumably on the vast amounts of Canadian pond weed that grows in the water.

They then fly off at alternate intervals in squadrons of up 15 or more across Guildford in the direction of Chilworth – where I assume they must roost?

Within one of the flocks I spotted and captured a photo of a feral (semi-domestic) greylag goose.

Also arriving on the lake by the end of August were two drake and two duck gadwall. About the size of a mallard, these waterfowl rarely breed in this country but will over-winter. They can often be seen in small numbers at  and around Stoke Lake.

A pleasing sighting for me at dusk on the last day of August, from the towpath towards the marsh area between the river and the lake, was a water rail. Although I was only able to get a silhouetted photo and not as clear as the those I took in my report number 2 on a visit to Unstead, I was equally as pleased as it was the first sighting I have had of one at Stoke this year.

Swallows preparing for the long flight to South Africa.

Notable  signs of autumn approaching during this first week of September on my travels around Shamley Green are the swallow families now starting to gather on TV aerials and telegraph lines feeding up on insects and preparing for their long journey back to fly among the wild animals of South Africa.

Also seen on a regular basis majestically circling the skies around Guildford on these recent warm, sunny days are common buzzards. My understanding is that five juveniles were introduced to the area back in 1995. I believe the first pair bred at Hatchlands, East Clandon, and have continued to do well taking up residence at Sutton Place, Wonersh, Shamley Green and Bramley, to name a few locations.

If anyone has any information that can add or differ from this, please leave a reply in the box below as I will be very interested to hear.

My friend Brian (at Unstead) has recently seen as many as 17 common buzzards circling together over the skies of Godalming! That beats my record of seeing 10.

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