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April was a very productive month with some very nice birds being seen (hence the above average length of this review). Only one first for CFBW was found however and that came in the much overdue form of a TREE PIPIT, the bird was almost certainly heard on the 16th but (presumably the same bird) was heard again and seen well by three observers two days later on the 18th.

The 18th was an excellent day which saw, Tree Pipit aside, some of the best birds of the month. Not least of which was an impressive female Goshawk which set up 3 Sparrowhawks and was later seen trying to lose a mobbing Carrion Crow by dipping up and down in typical Goshawk fashion. This represents the second record of Goshawk for CFBW. Another second for CFBW was found that day, an Egyptian Goose that was seen flying to the Burgh Heath pond. A Yellow Wagtail was another good bird

that day, with an adult male seen flying north east while calling (the first of the year was heard only the previous day).

The first 3 House Martins of the year also showed up somewhat belatedly that same day, along with a Sand Martin (the latter species was also being seen in April as follows: 2 on 17th and 3 on 19th). The supporting cast for the brilliant day that was the 18th included 4 Northern Wheatears (3 males), c.10 Swallows, c.3 Grey Herons, 2 Cormorants, c.6 Mallards and 3 Common Buzzards (all these species being seen in pretty good numbers throughout the month).

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Northern Wheatear (male) on the 8th by David Campbell

Northern Wheatears were very much in obvious throughout the

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Greylags on the 17th by David Campbell

month with a peak of 5 with birds being seen on 14 dates. Greylags, not an easy bird at th

e site, were seen on the 17th and 25th.

After a short disappearance the 2 BLACK REDSTARTS, an immature male and a female, from March showed again on the 3rd and 4th only, the immature male even sang! On the 4th, the sight of 2 Golden Plovers, the second record for CFBW, flying west graced the skies above Canons Farm and represented one of the highlights of the month, and the year.

A male White Wagtail, the continental race of Pied Wagtail, was found around Canons Farmhouse on the 8th. An unseasonal Stonechat was seen near Canons Farmhouse on 14th when the last group of Fieldfares and the last of any Redwings of the winter were seen with c.30 and up to 10 of each respectively. Late Fieldfares were seen on the 24th and the 27th.

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Northern Lapwing on the 27th by Mark Stanley

Single Northern Lapwings were seen on the 17th and 28th with 2

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Whinchat on the 25th by Phil Wallace

being seen on the 28th. A late Woodcock was seen on the 27th.

Whinchats and Red Kites

were theme birds of the month with 3

records of the former (all single males: 22nd, 25th and 30th) and 5 sightings of the latter (including 2 on the 23rd). 2 Peregrines on the 23rd was a good record.

In terms of summer migrant arrivals, birds seemed to be held back a bit this year. Starting with warblers: Willow Warblers arrived on the 6th; Common Whitethroats on the 19th and Lesser Whitethroats and Garden Warblers on the 28th. All these dates are later than expected. Hobbies first showed on the reasonable but still fairly late date of the 22nd and were seen on regular intervals thereon in. Common Swift was late in comparison to other local sites, with the first record of the year being of a single on the 25th. Swallows were another late species, first being seen on the 3rd. Already mentioned but here for the sake of completeness: Whinchat was first seen on the 22nd (actually quite early in comparison to nearby sites), House Martin on the 18th (late in comparison to other local sites), Tree Pipit on the 18th (probably 16th) (about average, maybe slightly late) and Yellow Wagtail was first noted on the 17th (a bit late compared to nearby sites).

For a complete review of the year's bird records the Canons Farm and Banstead Woods Bird Report 2010 will be available for £6.50 early in 2011.