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Sunday, 17 December 2017

Goring, 17th December 2017

Today's highlights were an eastbound Snow Bunting over Goring Beach Huts, a Brambling exiting a garden on the west side of the Gap and a female Blackcap in the scrub in the north-west corner. Birds logged during an hour's seawatch included three Dark-bellied Brent Geese, a Shelduck, four Wigeon, nine Teal, 18 Red-breasted Mergansers, 15 Red-throated Divers, five Gannets, eight Great Crested Grebes, two Kittiwakes and a distant auk offshore.

Two Redshanks were feeding on the beach, along with a handful of Turnstones, Sanderlings and Oystercatchers but the tide did not allow meaningful counts of these species during today's visit. The high tide roost field, however, contained 410 Dunlin, 44 Grey Plovers, 43 Ringed Plovers and an adult Mediterranean Gull. Other sightings included seven Skylarks, six Fieldfares, 14 Redwings, two Mistle Thrushes, two separate Stonechats and 50 Goldfinches.

Redshank and Sanderling

Saturday, 16 December 2017

Goring/Ferring 16th December 2017

A full day out in the field saw me rack up 23,483 steps, helped along by my walking rather than cycling to and from the patch today. The sea was quiet and given little attention but did produce a Teal, a Wigeon, six Red-breasted Mergansers, seven Red-throated Divers, a Dark-bellied Brent Goose, seven Great Crested Grebes and a distant auk. Wader numbers comprised 169 Sanderlings, 307 Dunlin, 30 Grey Plovers, 42 Ringed Plovers, 90 Turnstones and 40 Oystercatchers. Some 230 Common Gulls were feeding along the shore towards the end of the day, as were three adult Mediterranean Gulls and a Lesser Black-backed Gull. The pair of Stonechats were still on the east side of the Gap and another male was further west. Other Goring sightings included a Mistle Thrush, a Redwing, five Skylarks, two Meadow Pipits, the Treecreeper, a Sparrowhawk and two Great Spotted Woodpeckers.

At Ferring Rife were two Little Egrets, a Water Rail, a Redwing, two Green Woodpeckers, a Great Spotted Woodpecker, a Grey Heron, two Moorhens and a Sparrowhawk.

Little Egret at Ferring Rife
Grey Heron at Ferring Rife
Stock Dove at Goring
♂ Stonechat at Goring
Sparrowhawk at Goring
Treecreeper at Goring

Friday, 15 December 2017

Goring/Ferring, 15th December 2017

During a 1.5-hour seawatch, a Dark-bellied Brent Goose, 34 Red-throated Divers, 59 Gannets, three Kittiwakes, two Great Crested Grebes, three Guillemots and 19 distant auks flew past the Gap. Meanwhile, 15 Red-breasted Mergansers were offshore. Sanderlings rose further to 170, while 353 Dunlin, 48 Ringed Plovers, 50 Grey Plovers, 48 Turnstones and six Oystercatchers were also counted. A 1cy Red Kite and a Mistle Thrush were patch ticks. Three adult Mediterranean Gulls were in the area, along with a Sparrowhawk, a Green Woodpecker, two Skylarks, a Song Thrush and 30 Goldfinches.

A swift visit to Ferring Rife produced a Grey Heron, a Kestrel, a Sparrowhawk, three Redwings, two Song Thrushes, two Green Woodpeckers and a Linnet.

Thursday, 14 December 2017

Goring/Ferring, 14th December 2017

It was great fun counting the waders today, with strong totals of 159 Sanderlings, 129 Turnstones and 355 Dunlin, along with a Redshank, 53 Grey Plovers, 50 Ringed Plovers and 52 Oystercatchers. Six Mediterranean Gulls in the area were all adults but for a second-winter and 77 Common Gulls were along the shore. Highlights at sea included a Common Scoter, a Teal, 41 Gannets, 46 Kittiwakes, seven Red-throated Divers, 20 Red-breasted Mergansers, four Great Crested Grebes, five Guillemots and a further 27 distant auks in the haze zone. I heard the Treecreeper in the Plantation.

For some reason it had taken me until this morning to venture over the Ferring Rife and I was much impressed by the potential of the habitat there, which will surely be bustling with life come the spring, or perhaps even during a cold snap this winter. Sightings there today included a Snipe, a Water Rail, a Grey Wagtail, three Redwings, three Pheasants, a Grey Heron, a Sparrowhawk, a Green Woodpecker, three Song Thrushes and a Moorhen.

Sanderlings (and Grey Plover) at Goring
2nd-winter Mediterranean Gull with Black-headed and Herring Gulls

Beddington Farmlands, 10th December 2017

Staying in Surrey between leading the Saturday walk at Canons and a survey job in north London, I teamed up with Christian C for a vigil from the hide in the horrendous weather. It eventually cleared up and we managed a short wander but the conditions beat us in the end! However, we did relocate the Twite on the northwest side of the landfill site with 60 Linnets, although it evaded any attempts at improving my photographic record of it. Counting the ducks was a satisfying exercise, with 35 Pochards, 62 Shovelers, 57 Teal, 26 Gadwall and 13 Tufted Ducks on the lakes. A Shelduck added a bit of 'value' - a fairly unusual sighting this early in the winter, and six Reed Buntings and two Meadow Pipits were along the side of the lake. Nine Snipe also flew from the margins, needing very little inadvertent prompting to flush.

Saturday, 9 December 2017

Canons Farm and Banstead Woods, 9th December 2017

It was a lovely sunny day to lead the CFBWBG Winter Tour with Paul G this morning. The highlight was a low Red Kite over Broadfield while other included a Meadow Pipit, two Yellowhammers, 23 Fieldfares, 21 Redwings, 49 Skylarks and five Rooks.

Red Kite
Buzzard

Friday, 8 December 2017

Goring, 8th December 2017

Rather fewer birds at sea and on the shore this morning but quality came in the form of an adult Pale-bellied Brent Goose heading west and a repeat appearance from the Red-necked Grebe, which also flew by that way, as did two Mute Swans. Otherwise, 15 Gannets, a Red-throated Diver, 12 Dark-bellied Brent Geese, 23 Red-breasted Mergansers and a Guillemot were seen over the waves. Some waders were in strangley short supply, the roll-call involving 355 Dunlin, a Redshank, a Curlew, 39 Oystercatchers and 25 Ringed Plovers, but just five Sanderlings, six Grey Plovers and four Turnstones. Three Mediterranean Gulls, 43 Common Gulls and 15 Great Black-backed Gulls were noted, and other bits included a Chiffchaff, a Redwing, the Treecreeper, a Coal Tit, a Great Spotted Woodpecker, a Green Woodpecker, the male Stonechat, a Linnet and seven Greenfinches.

adult Pale-bellied Brent Goose
Mute Swans
Ringed Plover

Wednesday, 6 December 2017

Goring, 6th December 2017

Another cycle to the Goring patch this morning, hearing a Chiffchaff calling in gardens along Grand Avenue (Worthing) on the way. Intermittent scanning of the sea, joined for a while by Nick B and Gareth J, produced 32 Red-throated Divers, 42 Red-breasted Mergansers, eight Dark-bellied Brent Geese, three Common Scoters, seven Kittiwakes, four Razorbills, four Guillemots, a further 21 distant auks and 30 Great Crested Grebes. Waders were represented by 467 Dunlin, three Redshanks, 59 Ringed Plovers, 53 Grey Plovers, 28 Sanderlings, 21 Oystercatchers and 54 Turnstones, while two Little Egrets and a Grey Heron were also feeding along the shore. Gulls included seven Mediterranean, 34 Common and 15 Great Black-backed. A Chiffchaff, a Great Spotted Woodpecker and a Coal Tit were also seen.

Grey Plovers and Dunlin
Dark-bellied Brent Geese
Mediterranean, Common and Black-headed Gulls
Oystercatchers

Monday, 4 December 2017

Goring, 4th December 2017

I scanned the sea and shore from the west side of Goring Gap this morning, picking up the Red-necked Grebe again on the sea before it flew east, as well as an eastbound Great Skua. Joined towards the end of the watch by Nick B and Clive H, logged by the time I left at 10:00 were 69 Red-throated Divers, 56 Red-breasted Mergansers, four Common Scoters, 44 Great Crested Grebes, three Gannets, nine Dark-bellied Brent Geese, a Teal, five Kittiwakes, two Shelducks, seven Razorbills, five Guillemots and a further 38 extremely distant auks. A juvenile Peregrine flew west offshore and one of the wintering Chiffchaffs remained at the start of Patterson's Walk. In between shopping trips I stopped off at high tide to count the wader roost which comprised 410 Dunlin, 66 Grey Plovers and 50 Ringed Plovers, along with two adult Mediterranean Gulls. Small numbers of Turnstones, Sanderlings and Oystercatchers had been along the beach earlier in the morning but the state of the tide did not allow meaningful counts of these species.

Sunday, 3 December 2017

Goring, 3rd December 2017

Just time for a half-hour evening scan from the east side of Goring, featuring a Red-throated Diver, 88 Great Crested Grebes and 35 Red-breasted Mergansers on the sea, plus three Gannets past. An adult Mediterranean Gull, a Little Egret and eight Oystercatchers were along the shore.

Saturday, 2 December 2017

Goring, 2nd December 2017

The sea was surprisingly busy this morning with birds feeding and moving offshore. Perhaps the least expected sighting was of a distant Avocet heading west, although I was amazed to get both Red-necked Grebe and Black-throated Diver again. Both are perhaps quite likely to be the same birds first seen on 15th November, lingering in the area; the grebe headed west and the diver was feeding distantly offshore before heading east later in the morning. A Great Northern Diver bulldozed its way west and at least 97 Red-throated Divers went through during the morning, a handful of which pitched down.

Also offshore was a drake Velvet Scoter among 49 Common Scoters, 60 Red-breasted Mergansers, 27 Dark-bellied Brent Geese, 90 Great Crested Grebes, 49 Wigeon, 17 Teal, 37 Shelducks, 17 Kittiwakes, 21 Razorbills, eight Guillemots, a Gannet, 40 Great Black-backed Gulls and three Lesser Black-backed Gulls.

On the wader roll call were 78 Sanderlings, 255 Dunlin, 38 Grey Plovers, 34 Ringed Plovers, 46 Oystercatchers, a Redshank and 88 Turnstones. Four adult Mediterranean Gulls were in the area. Passerines included a Chiffchaff, a Redwing, the male Stonechat, a Meadow Pipit, three Skylarks, two Song Thrushes, four Goldcrests, 14 Pied Wagtails, nine Chaffinches and eight Greenfinches.

Thursday, 30 November 2017

Goring, 30th November 2017

A hasty afternoon count of the low-tide waders at Goring revealed three Redshanks, 61 Sanderlings, 31 Grey Plovers, 15 Ringed Plovers, 80 Dunlin, 50 Oystercatchers and 48 Turnstones, as well as a Little Egret. A Kittiwake flew west.

Wednesday, 29 November 2017

Staines Reservoir, 29th November 2017

It was bloody gutting to dip the American Horned Lark for the second time (although the first time I was twitching it as a Shorelark for a London tick). A flock of five Pintail was the best thing on offer but it was nice to catch up with Mike S, Surrey expat now residing in Cornwall, and Robin S.

Tuesday, 28 November 2017

Norfolk, 27-28th November 2017

A fun couple of days away with Mag and Christian started productively with two Parrot Crossbills at Santon Warren, an adult Black Brant at Cley and four Lapland Buntings at Weybourne our haul on the first day. Cley also provided a first-winter Caspian Gull, a Great Skua and a few Golden Plovers, while Brents numbered around 500. The Tuesday didn't go quite so smoothly, much time being wasted looking in vain for a Shorelark at Holme, but we did get a few Snow Buntings there and a nice flock of 20 Twite at Thornham Harbour and a seawatch at Sheringham produced a couple of Great Skuas and a few Red-throated Divers.

♂ Parrot Crossbill at Santon Warren
adult Black Brant at Cley - my first of this taxa; interesting bird with an incomplete collar (and I think I'm looking too hard for grey tones on the upperparts?)

first-winter Caspian Gull at Cley


Twite at Thornham Harbour

Saturday, 25 November 2017

Goring, 25th November 2017

It was a glorious morning but quite a rushed visit as I had to head back late morning to Surrey for a few days. Feeding on the low tide was a Redshank, a Curlew, a Little Egret, 43 Ringed Plovers, 29 Grey Plovers, 91 Dunlin, 27 Turnstones, 11 Sanderlings and 39 Oystercatchers. The sea was quiet but three Wigeon and three Gadwall headed west together, as did 19 very distant auks in the haze, two Gannets and a Red-throated Diver. An adult Mediterranean Gull floated around, three Skylarks were in the fields and the woods held the Treecreeper, a Coal Tit, two Green Woodpeckers, a Great Spotted Woodpecker, two Stock Doves and six Goldcrests.

Friday, 24 November 2017

Goring, 24th November 2017

Cycling to the patch this morning, it was a relatively quieter session and I am beginning to realise the regular frustration that I am bound to experience at the sheer level of disturbance burdoned upon this precious relic of green space. The waders feeding on the low tide must contend with endless dog-walkers and it seems that operators of both model aircraft and drones either feel their machines take priority over these birds seeking vital refuge in the fields at high tide or, more likely, play with their toys in ignorance. It truly seems that the only spaces not already razed by humans and free from their blundering indifference to nature are indeed nature reserves.

At low tide, I counted 29 Grey Plovers, 33 Ringed Plovers, 67 Turnstones, four Sanderlings and 27 Oystercatchers foraging, as well as a Little Egret. I postponed counting Dunlin till high tide but this was probably a mistake as only 93 appeared and very few other waders braved the roost site. Gulls included five Mediterranean, 110 Common and 35 Great Black-backed. Little was moving over or feeding on the calm sea, with seven Common Scoters, a Red-throated Diver, 10 Red-breasted Mergansers, a Razorbill, 13 Great Crested Grebes and 22 Cormorants noted.

A Treecreeper, a Fieldfare, two Great Spotted Woodpeckers, a Green Woodpecker and a Stock Dove provided patch ticks, the two Stonechats lingered and other bits included a Chiffchaff, seven Skylarks, three Meadow Pipits, 13 Goldcrests, two Linnets, three Song Thrushes, nine Jays, 25 Blackbirds and 11 Pied Wagtails.

Dunlin
Treecreeper
♀ Stonechat

Wednesday, 22 November 2017

Beddington Farmlands, 22nd November 2017

This morning's walk around Beddington with Magnus A turned into a bit of an epic when we simultaneously clocked a colour-ringed Twite among a flock of 30 Linnets by the landfill site!!! The first Surrey record since 2004 and with the only previous Beddington record being in 1991, this is a local blocker and several of Beddington's finest were with us and connecting with the bird in no time! From the combination, Jamie Dunning was able to tell us that the bird was ringed as a juvenile in Derbyshire in 2016 and spent the following winter at the more typical location of Titchwell RSPB in Norfolk.

Other highlights over the morning included our old friend Caspian Gull X319, now in second-winter plumage, as well as a second-winter Yellow-legged Gull, Water Pipit, two Tree Sparrows, Water Rail, Chiffchaff, Little Egret, 40 Great Black-backed Gulls, five Reed Buntings, 29 Lapwings, 146 Teal, 30 Gadwall, 74 Shovelers, a handful of Snipe, three Skylarks, two redpolls, two Redwings and nine Meadow Pipits.

Surrey's first Twite since 2004
2nd-winter Caspian Gull
2nd-winter Yellow-legged Gull
Tree Sparrow by Mag

Tuesday, 21 November 2017

Goring, 21st November 2017

Back in Sussex, I headed out to Goring for the morning where I saw the beach at low tide for first time. I hadn't realised the extent of the potential feeding area on offer for waders here at low tide and scanning along the beach revealed new patch species for me in the form of a Knot and a couple of Redshanks. Apparently Knot isn't particularly common here. While Sanderling and Ringed Plover numbered remained low, at 23 and eight respectively, other species provided reasonable totals: 69 Grey Plovers roosted along with 203 Dunlin and feeding along the shore were 90 Turnstones and 57 Oystercatchers.

A Kingfisher calling along the beach was soon spotted surveying its hunting ground from one of the groynes. I counted 11 Mediterranean Gulls and other bits included four Dark-bellied Brent Geese, a Common Scoter, a Guillemot and the low totals of 14 Red-breasted Mergansers and three Great Crested Grebes. Three Kittiwakes and 28 Gannets moved west. The two Stonechats were still in the rough field and a Chiffchaff was in the woods on the east side while the fields held six Skylarks and 15 Pied Wagtails. Seven Goldcrests were dotted about and a Rook flew over.

Part of today's high tide roost
Kingfisher
the Knot roosting later in the morning
the beach at Goring Gap at low tide
Grey Plovers
adult Mediterranean Gull
Turnstone
Common Gulls, with Mediterranean and Black-headed thrown in

Monday, 20 November 2017

Canons Farm, 20th November 2017

Another quick morning visit to the farm before heading back to the south coast produced a Rook, two Meadow Pipits, a Pied Wagtail, three Common Gulls, 12 Skylarks, 80 Redwings, 50 Fieldfares and a Mistle Thrush.

Canons Farm, 18th November 2017

A quick visit to the farm in the morning produced two Bramblings, a Grey Heron, 240 Fieldfares, 126 Redwings and a Meadow Pipit of particular note.

Friday, 17 November 2017

Canons Farm, 17th November 2017

Back in Surrey for a little while, I parked up by the farmhouse and had a quick scan of the stubble fields by the lane - that's about as far as I got all day as I quickly spotted a Short-eared Owl roosting right out in the centre of Infront George West and the rest of the day was spent watching the bird with good friends as they came and went to see this locally rare treat, overshadowing the adult Great Black-backed Gull which had flown over a few minutes beforehand (a decent enough patch bird in itself). I returned late in the day to see the owl take off and heard a Tawny and at least three Little Owls too. Other bits of note at the farm during the day included 34 Fieldfares, seven Redwings, two Meadow Pipits, a Rook, a Grey Heron and a Mistle Thrush

Short-eared Owl

Thursday, 16 November 2017

Goring, 16th November 2017

Highlights this morning included a juvenile Red-throated Diver on the sea, 11 Common Scoters, two Kittiwakes, five Mediterranean Gulls, a Little Egret, a Chiffchaff, a redpoll, two Stonechats, 39 Red-breasted Mergansers, nine Razorbills, five Guillemots, 45 Great Crested Grebes, 12 Dark-bellied Brent Geese, 15 Gannets, an Oystercatcher, 48 Ringed Plovers, 82 Dunlins, nine Sanderlings, nine Turnstones, 13 Great Black-backed Gulls, two Goldcrests and five Skylarks.

The scoters involved a flock of nine which headed west and a pair on the sea, where for the first time I saw for myself scoters living up to their name, the male displaying my scooting a couple of feet across the surface of the sea then cocking his head. It was nice to meet local birder Nick B and I appreciated his lift back home!

wader slumber party: Sanderling, Ringed Plover and Dunlin
the lonely Dark-bellied Brent remains...
Great Black-backed Gulls joined the loafing squad today
the male of a Stonechat pair - hopefully a Dartford will join them soon

Wednesday, 15 November 2017

Goring, 15th November 2017

Today saw a brief inaugural visit to Goring as my new patch (see the previous post) and, despite being shrouded in fog, it turned out to be quite a productive visit and I left very excited about the patching prospects ahead. Within the first couple of minutes of scanning from the Worthing Sailing Club, near the east end of my boundary, I picked up a Red-necked Grebe on the sea a couple of hundred metres out. I can count how many Red-neckeds I've ever seen on one hand so was delighted to find my own. Later on, at the Gap itself, a Black-throated Diver was feeding about the same distance offshore and local birder Clive arrived just in time to see it.

The wader roost comprised of 59 Grey Plovers, 51 Ringed Plovers and 79 Dunlins but only eight Sanderlings and 11 Turnstones; a slightly weary looking adult Dark-bellied Brent Goose and nine Mediterranean Gulls shared the same field. A further 14 Brents tracked west offshore, where other highlights (when visibility improved!) included 46 Red-breasted Mergansers, five Red-throated Divers, 26 Great Crested Grebes, four Razorbills, five Guillemots and two Gannets. Two Skylarks, a Linnet, a couple of Meadow Pipits and two Goldcrests were also noted during the brief visit.

Red-necked Grebe
Mediterranean, Common and Black-headed Gulls
adult Dark-bellied Brent Goose

The new patch


A tenative "recording area" map

I've just recently moved into a flat in West Worthing with Ingrid. This of course means breaking off, to some or other extent, my ties with my beloved Surrey patches, Canons Farm/Banstead Woods and Beddington Farmlands. I've now watched these sites with varying intensity for eight and ten years respectively, they've provided some unforgettable birding experiences and I'm sure will always feel like my birding home but the time has come to move on. I do intend to return to Surrey regularly and keep a finger on the pulse at both sites but there are fantastic patching opportunites on the coast.

The obvious choice for my new patch is Goring Gap, and it is the prime candidate partly thanks to the fact that so little green space is on offer along this greatly urbanised stretch of coastline. It is a very simple site to work, comprising a shingle beach and a few arable fields (both of which are used by a mixed wader roost), with a little rough ground and enough bushes to promise a variety of passerine migrants.

Of course there is also that great birding commodity with which Surrey birders are so unfamiliar, the sea, and this particular portion of the Channel does well enough for birds feeding and migrating offshore. The site is a very short walk from the bungalow we were initially interested in but a couple of miles away from the flat which we ended up renting.

With a dramatic rise in my living costs, and as part of my resolution to increasingly live in line with my values, I don't wish to use my car to get to the site. My bike, which has seen minimal use for many years, is currently still back in Surrey so at the moment it's a matter of walking there. Trialling this has made me realise that the slither of green between the Gap and Worthing, through which one passes while walking west to the new patch, holds some patching merit in itself, with some nice coastal vegetation and sheltered seawatching positions, so I have decided to extend the boundary further east. This also means I don't feel I'm spending so much time walking merely to the site. The best position, from which one can seawatch while keeping an eye on the fields and intercept overhead visibile migration, is at the west end of Goring Gap, however, so it may be that a bike will come in handy after all!

I should be able to devote a fair bit of time to patching Goring and it will be very interesting to see how things pan out over the next few months...

Sunday, 12 November 2017

Bowling Green Marsh RSPB, 12th November 2017

Back at Bowling Green for the second day running, I had a little more time to spare and ventured over to the estuary viewing platform as well as The Lookout. A flock of 12 Greenshanks was on the estuary, along with a lone Knot, 25 Bar-tailed Godwits, 300 Redshanks and 25 Dark-bellied Brent Geese, and the Marsh Harrier cruised the reedbed again while two Ravens were harrassed by the more regular corvids. A Cetti's Warbler gave one burst of song but was probably put off by the sharp showers and 45 Black-tailed Godwits were seen.

Bowling Green Marsh RSPB, 11th November 2017

My mum, dad and I found ourselves in Devon for a weekend visiting family friends that we haven't seen for a couple of years. It was a pretty miserable morning but, with a couple of hours to spare and the Exe Estuary being surprisingly accessible from the middle of nowhere (if you're staying by the M5), my dad kindly took me to Bowling Green Marsh where I saw the scruffy Ross's Gull in 2014 for a bit of a birding interlude. I chose to sit out the constant drizzle in 'The Lookout' which as its name might suggest gives a pretty good general view over the relatively humble but bird-filled freshwater scrape. Highlights included a quartering Marsh Harrier, a flock of 250 Avocets and some 41 Pintail.

part of the Avocet flock

Friday, 10 November 2017

Canons Farm and Reading Services, 10th November 2017

A pleasant stroll around the patch this morning, joined for the latter half by Linda M, didn't turn up very much other than four redpolls, small numbers of Fieldfares and Redwings, the resident pair of Red-legged Partridges and a Meadow Pipit but the autumn colours and bright skies ensured it was worthwhile.

Later on, en-route to Devon I saw 18 Pied Wagtails by the M4 at Reading Services.

Canons Farm, 9th November 2017

It's now that time of year when after-work visits to the patch become centred on owling and this evening was quite rewarding with a Tawny and four Littles calling. A Meadow Pipit flew over and, under the blanket of darkness, a few Redwings could be heard passing overhead.

Wednesday, 8 November 2017

Worthing/Sompting, 8th November 2017

While getting some jobs done in Worthing, a Linnet flew over and on the way home I clocked a Raven sail across the A27 at Sompting.

Tuesday, 7 November 2017

Canons Farm, 7th November 2017

A brief visit to the farm saw my first five Lapwings for the site since January, and just my second record there this year (!), as well as a Brambling calling. Close views of one of the local Little Owls made the visit all the more profitable.

Little Owl

Leith Hill, 6th November 2017

A fabulous morning was spent ringing on Leith Hill with Paul S - we didn't catch a huge amount of birds but it was nice to get out ringing for the first time in months! There was plenty to look at in between net rounds, with highlights including eight Hawfinches overhead, a Dartford Warbler (a site tick for me), a Woodcock and five Bramblings, while a Skylark and, particularly, a Reed Bunting were notable site birds. At least four Tawny Owls were vocal as we set up just before dawn.

1cy female Goldcrest

Sunday, 5 November 2017

Beddington Farmlands, 4th November 2017

A rainy Saturday morning, where else would I be than the hide at Beddington? It felt like the good old days, with a packed hide filled by Peter A, Ed S, Steve T, Glenn J, Dave S and Nick G. With little flying over, most the attention was afforded to the gulls loafing on the North Lake, a spanking first-winter Caspian Gull and an adult Mediterranean Gull representing our main prizes. Med Gulls were once an expected prize for diligent sifting of the Black-headed Gull flocks but they have regained 'scarce' status in the local area, if not the Surrey and London recording areas entirely! Two each of Chiffchaff, Cetti's Warbler and Water Rail were around, along with a Little Egret and eight Pochards. It was interesting to see a number of the Shovelers on the North Lake diving for food. A Siskin flew over, along with six Snipes, three redpolls and 150 Redwings.

first-winter Caspian Gull
adult Mediterranean Gull