20 November 2015

Woodcock return: 20 November

A couple of hours spotlighting this evening at Staines Moor found at least 2 (perhaps as many as 6) Eurasian Woodcock at the north end - the first birds of the winter. However, a waxing gibbous moon was throwing out a heck of a lot of light and so the birds could not be approached close enough for photos. I'll try again in a week or so. Also noted after dark were a possible Jack Snipe (east pool), 5(4H) Common Snipe, a Short-eared Owl, 3f Common Teal (east pool) and 3(H) Redwing over, as well as c15 Rabbits (including a couple of black animals) - a much higher site count than usual.

A walk along the old railway this afternoon logged 2-3 Coal Tit (2 at the feeders and 1 in a tit flock), 3 Blackcap (2m, 1f), 1 Common Chiffchaff, 15 Goldcrest, 7 Chaffinch (2m, 5f - feeders). The open moor produced 2+ Water Pipit, 3 Little Grebe, 1 Grey Wagtail, 1 Little Egret, 2 Grey Heron, and 1 Pied Wagtail all along the Colne, and 9 Stonechat (6m, 3f), 1 Short-eared Owl, 1 Redwing, 36 Fieldfare, 1 Reed Bunting, 2+ Kestrel and 2 Egyptian Goose W.

1 of 15 Goldcrest along the old railway alone today

Passage overhead amounted to just 1 redpoll sp. SSW, 1 Grey Wagtail W, 1 Greenfinch SW, 3 Chaffinch (SW-S), several Linnet SW, 1 Red Kite W, 1 Common Buzzard and a Grey Wagtail W. A steady eastward movement of gulls off to roost near dusk consisted of mainly Lesser Black-backed, Black-headed and a few Common Gulls.

Staines Moor today, looking north-east towards King George VI Reservoir

11 November 2015

Coal Tits at the patch: 11 November

Concentrated on birding the old railway and Bonehead Woodland at Staines Moor today. Finally caught up with the Coal Tit(s) that has been visiting the feeders for a few weeks. From photos there was actually 2 Coal Tits at the feeders today along with several each of Great Tit, Blue Tit, Long-tailed Tit and Ring-necked Parakeet, and 5+ (4f, 1m) Chaffinch.

Setting up a feeding station and keeping the feeders topped up on Staines Moor is no easy task and so Stephen Minhinnick must be thanked for his efforts as well as for getting me a patch tick.

Coal Tit - 1 of 3 birds present along the old railway today

Photos show 3 different Coal Tits on site today - the 2 right hand birds were visiting the feeders

Another Coal Tit a little further south along the old railway was my second record (identified as a third bird from photos), and a Eurasian Treecreeper around the feeders was my third patch record.

Eurasian Treecreeper along the old railway today - I love the white claws on these birds

Today's Eurasian Treecreeper

Other notables today were 1 Short-eared Owl at the north end at dusk that flew up from the grass and headed directly off north to Stanwell Moor, 2 (1f ,1m) Eurasian Bullfinch along the old railway, 26 Goldcrest, 1 Fieldfare (Bonehead Woodland), 1+ Water Pipit over the east side, 2 Little Egret, 3 (2m, 1f) Stonechat, 10 Stock Dove (over Bonehead Woodland) and 1+ Kestrel.

Vis mig was almost non-existent with 4 Fieldfare SW, 2(H) redpoll sp., 1 alba wagtail over W, and 1 pale Common Buzzard ENE (didn't look like the usual pale individual in a brief view) just south of the A30).

It's so mild still that Water Forget-me-not Myosotis scorpioides is still flowering along the Colne.

Weather: Overcast (8 oktas), mild, some very light drizzle at times, moderate SW wind.

1 November 2015

Birding the fog: 1 November

A few hours birding Staines Moor in the fog finally produced a Firecrest, albeit briefly, along Bonehead Woodland in the NE corner. The Goldcrest influx continues with 34 counted today setting another site record, but thrushes remain thin on the ground with just 1 Fieldfare, 5 Song Thrush and 7 Blackbird logged.

The fog didn't lift at all today so visibility remained poor. Vis mig amounted to just c.62 Woodpigeon SW, 11(1H) Linnet S and 9 Goldfinch S. On the ground, 1H Water Pipit, 1 Little Grebe (Colne), 2 (1m, 1f) Stonechat, 2 Grey Wagtail, 3+ Pied Wagtail, 2 Little Egret, 4 Skylark, 1 Meadow Pipit, 4H Cetti's Warbler (1 in the reeds along the Colne by the northern footbridge and 3 along Bonehead Ditch), 3(1H) Greenfinch, 1 Kestrel and a Common Snipe (heard overhead at dusk) were noted.

Goldcrest, Staines Moor, 1 November

28 October 2015

Staines Moor: 28 October

A long but rather unproductive day at the patch in terms of fresh migrants and overhead passage. 3 Water Pipit along the Colne is an increase, a site-wide count of 27 Goldcrest is a new patch record (but again no Firecrest or Yellow-browed Warbler amongst them) and 2 Short-eared Owl (first reported on 25 October) were hunting on and off throughout the day on the east side, and seen to catch a small mammal on two occasions. A slight increase in Blackbirds was noticeable with 11 noted, along with 5 Song Thrush but just a single Fieldfare (where are all the thrushes?) and Dunnocks seemed more noticeable than usual as well with 8 (1H) noted with no effort and Robins were everywhere. A flock of 18 Skylark on the east side was notable as was just 8 Meadow Pipit, 2 Grey Wagtail and 3 Pied Wagtail along the Colne, 8 (5m, 3f) Stonechat, and 2 Reed Bunting.

Vis mig amounted to nothing more than c.65 Eurasian Wigeon E, 3 Fieldfare SW, 2 Skylark (1 NW, 1 SE), 1 Linnet E and 1 Greenfinch E.

Regulars noted include 2 Little Egret, 1 Common Buzzard, 1 Eurasian Sparrowhawk, 2+ Kestrel, 45+ Black-headed Gull 'flycatching' over the grassland for much of the day, 4 more Greenfinch and 1H Cetti's Warbler (in reeds by the northern footbridge).

An hour spotlighting after dark on the west side produced just 1(H) Common Snipe and a Grey Heron flushed accidentally from roost along the River Wraysbury. It won't be long before the first Woodcock arrive for the winter I'm sure.

One of three Water Pipits along the Colne today. Darn camera wouldn't focus - how much is that 7D Mark II?

24 October 2015

A trickle of migrants overhead: 24 October

A few very quiet hours at Staines Moor today with a just a little vis mig overhead. 2 Golden Plover over W and 1f Brambling WSW then dropping down into the willows along the Colne (by the northern footbridge) were the highlights. Also noted overhead were 1 Water Pipit N, 8 Fieldfare WSW (the first of the winter, dropping down briefly in the hawthorns in the NW corner), 1 redpoll sp. W, 14 Chaffinch SW, 1 Linnet S, 1 Greenfinch N, 1 Goldfinch W, 1 Pied Wagtail W, 3 Mistle Thrush S and 1 Song Thrush S.

Rubbish pic of one of two Golden Plover over west today

Female Brambling heading WSW before dropping down into willows by the Colne where it stayed for about 15 minutes

On the ground, 1(H) Redwing, 10 Stonechat (7m, 3f), 4 Goldcrest, 2f/imm. Reed Bunting, 32 Meadow Pipit (east side), 1m Kingfisher (Colne), 1+ Little Egret (Colne), 1+m Pied Wagtail, c100 Goldfinch (mainly around the thistles at the south end), another 5 Greenfinch, 2 Kestrel and 2-3 Egyptian Goose (2W, 1E). A Red Fox (on the northern footbridge) and lots of huge Parasol Mushrooms Macrolepiota procera (on the west side) today.

Stanwell Moor added a Common Buzzard.

A good show of Parasol Mushrooms Macrolepiota procera on Staines Moor this year - many are huge!

Potted a Feathered Thorn on the kitchen window last night - photographed this morning.

Feathered Thorn Colotois pennaria, Worcester Park, 24 October

19 October 2015

Great Grey Shrike at the patch: 19 October

A quick visit to Staines Moor this afternoon soon located the Great Grey Shrike (found by Rob Innes yesterday) perched on the hawthorns on the west side, and occasionally wandering to the hawthorns in the NW corner. This is third Great Grey Shrike for Staines Moor - the first being one on 9 April 2000 and the second briefly on 13 October 2009.

1-2 Water Pipit in flight along the Colne are my first returning birds, as was a Jack Snipe flushed from the Colne by the southern footbridge. Also noted were 1 ad. Peregrine on the pylons, 9 Stonechat (6m, 3f), 1 Cetti's Warbler showing well in the reeds by the north entrance, 3+ Grey Wagtail (2+ 1st-W, 1 ad. m), 1m Kingfisher, 1 Goldcrest in a Long-tailed Tit flock, 2 Little Egret (Colne), 7 Greenfinch, 4 Pied Wagtail (Colne), 2 f/imm. Kestrel and just 6+ Meadow Pipit.

Overhead 1 Red Kite W, 18 Linnet (including 8 dropping down into the scrub on the west side at dusk), 3 Pied Wagtail SE-E and 6 Skylark N.

Stanwell Moor added 7 Eurasian Wigeon over E.

Great Grey Shrike, Staines Moor, 19 October - just a record shot as I felt too ill to try for better photos

1st winter male Stonechat, Staines Moor, 19 October. 9 present today - males have outnumbered females this autumn two to one.

13 October 2015

Goldcrest influx: 13 October

Another very quiet day at Staines Moor. No hoped-for Yellow-browed Warbler or Firecrest, but a noticeable increase in Goldcrests (no doubt birds arriving on the east coast filtering through) with at least 19 counted, by far the highest day count for the patch, including 5 together in a mixed Long-tailed/Great/Blue Tit flock along Bonehead Woodland.

Goldcrest, Staines Moor, 13 October

Goldcrest, Staines Moor, 13 October

Goldcrest, Staines Moor, 13 October

Goldcrest, Staines Moor, 13 October

Other migrants on the ground included 7 Stonechat (4m, 3f), 4 (2H) Chiffchaff, 4 Skylark, 16+ Meadow Pipit and 1-2 Grey Wagtail (that might be wintering birds rather than on passage).

Passage overhead was almost non-existent but for 1m Siskin (over NE then circling and dropping into the willows at the north end of the Colne after I mimicked its call!), 4 Chaffinch N, 2 Greenfinch (W and NE), 4 Linnet NE. At dusk, a few Linnet flocks totalling 33 birds moving over NE were noted dropping down to roost in the scrub on the west side.

Also noted: 1+ Little Egret, 2 Reed Bunting (1m, 1f), another 2 Greenfinch, 1-2 Eurasian Sparrowhawk, 2 Red Kite, 2 Common Buzzard (locals), 3 Kestrel, 1m Pied Wagtail, 1H Cetti's Warbler (reeds in Colne by northern footbridge), 1f Common Pheasant, a Stoat running across the Moor Lane footpath (patch tick) and a female Migrant Hawker.

Stanwell Moor added 8 (5m, 3f) Eurasian Wigeon over E.