Monday, 20 February 2017

Canons Farm and Beddington Farmlands, 19-20th February 2017

An evening walk at the farm on 19th produced three of the Stonechats that were found by others earlier in the day, always a welcome early sign of spring movement, and two calling Little Owls of note.

Stonechat at Canons Farm

A morning of ringing at Beddington this morning with Kevin Guest produced a new male Reed Bunting of note, while a Water Pipit flew from the reedbed and four Shelducks were still knocking about.

Lapwing at Beddington Farmlands

Saturday, 18 February 2017

Leith Hill, 18th February 2017

The Leith Hill massive, namely Matt P, Robin S, David S, Wes A and Stu C, assembled on the lofty tower roof for 2017's inaugural '[in]visible migration' session. It was a classic blinder of a Leith Hill Towerwatch, with a stubborn, soupy mist enveloping our view and simply refusing to clear by mid-morning, at which point we'd seen enough mist and cleared off ourselves instead. Single Crossbill and redpoll calls punctuating the murk were the sole rewards for our vigil, although there was plenty time for a good bit of birding banter/gossip. I took myself off for a walk on the heathland nearby, Duke's Warren, which was a bit more ornithologically infused thanks to a singing Woodlark, a Woodcock, two more Crossbills and 115 cacophonous Siskins.

Friday, 17 February 2017

Beddington Farmlands, 17th February 2017

A ringing session by myself on Hundred Acre was a real disappointment for the first couple of hours or so, by which point I’d only caught singles of Wren and Dunnock, but all the wading around in sewage was suddenly made worthwhile when a Water Pipit appeared in one of the nets! Bingo! I had been hoping to catch one of these but wasn’t expecting it in the middle of a rather sunny morning. Hopefully I will catch/re-catch further Water Pipits in the future, perhaps leading to some interesting data. Also about was a Green Sandpiper, a Cetti’s Warbler, four Shelducks and a couple of Reed Buntings, including a singing male.

Water Pipit

Green Sandpiper

Thursday, 16 February 2017

Canons Farm, Banstead Woods and Banstead Downs, 16th February 2017

Magnus A and Christian C joined me for a grand tour of the patch, on a changeable but mostly spring-like day, partly thanks to the first singing Yellowhammer of the year that I have heard - my day's highlight. We also located one of the Little Owls and had three Lesser Redpolls of note but once again a blank was drawn on what I am counting as my second concerted Lesser Spotted Woodpecker search of the year, though it is early days and I will continue looking. A look around Banstead Downs in the afternoon produced another two Stonechats, which by the sound of it may have been wintering in an area of young scrub, and a fly-over redpoll but a search of the traditional Firecrest site along the western flank of the golf course produced no hoped-for jewels.

Stonechat pair at Banstead Downs - rather unusual for the site but they may have been wintering in recent months