25 May 2016 — Tice’s Meadow and Farnham Heath
This was an extra meeting so only 6 of us met at Tice’s Meadow on a cold and dreary morning where we hoped to see a Garganey, a rare and beautiful duck, which is a summer visitor from Africa. It had been seen for over a week but we were told when we arrived that it had gone the previous day.
But there were plenty of Common Terns on a small pebbly island, presumably nesting, and the odd one on the posts below the viewing point. There were also hundreds of Swifts, Swallows and House Martins careering over the water catching insects, a number of Great Crested Grebes on the lake and the usual Coots and Moorhens round the edges. There were family parties of Canada Geese, some with very small goslings. We failed to find a Little Ringed Plover that was reportedly around. But at a small pond we watched a lot of Tufted Duck and a pair of Mallard and rather surprisingly a pair of Gadwall which spent most of the time upending in the water; they are mostly a soft grey colour all over but the drake has a diagnostic black rear end; they are mainly a winter visitor inland. On the way back through the woods we saw and heard a Blackcap.
We then drove over to Farnham Heath RSPB at Tilford as we had not been there before. It is a large area of heathland, recently recovered from dense pine plantation but it is not as wild as Thursley Common. We walked around a small part and saw a few Stonechats and heard a Cuckoo but the bird of the day was a Tree Pipit. It kept flying up like a Skylark, singing all the time but then it parachuted down, still singing, and landed on a dead branch of a pine. After a short rest it started all over again; and then again.