15 November 2014

Dartford Warbler at Staines Moor: 15 November

A really good late autumn day at the patch. The highlight was a female Dartford Warbler following 2 male and 2 female Stonechats around in the south-east corner of Staines Moor, and showing well on occasion. This is the sixth record for Staines Moor - the first was an immature from 14-19 October 2002 and the last was 1 present from 9-12 October and on 18 October 2009. Interestingly, three of the five previous records have involved birds associating with Stonechats, a curious relationship between the two species, and well documented here.

A large influx of winter thrushes was evident today, including 109+ Fieldfare (with at least 100 stripping the hawthorn berries in the NW corner), 48 Redwing, 10 Song Thrush, 1 Mistle Thrush and 9(2H) Blackbird.

Also noted on Staines Moor: 13 Stonechat still (6m, 7f), 3-4 Water Pipit (including 2 around the iris channels), 1H Cetti's Warbler along Bonehead Ditch near the south end (unusual here), 2(1H) Common Chiffchaff, 119 Goldfinch (including 84 along Bonehead Ditch), 1 Grey Wagtail (Colne), 1 Little Egret, the 1st yr pale Common Buzzard again (a locally bred bird?), 2 Little Grebe, 3 Stock Dove, 2+ Kestrel, 17+ Meadow Pipit, 7 Skylark, 3 Pied Wagtail, 2 Great Spotted Woodpecker, 2 Common Teal, 1m Common Pheasant and a Red Fox. Overhead, 2 alba wagtail flew south.

Female Dartford Warbler today - the sixth record for Staines Moor

Stanwell Moor added a female Eurasian Sparrowhawk with Red-legged Partridge kill, 2 Red-legged Partridge, another Common Buzzard, 1 Common Kestrel, 9 Common Teal, 11 Northern Shoveler, 4 Common Pheasant, and 1H Water Rail.

9 November 2014

South-east Devon: 8th - 9th November

Back from a very enjoyable weekend birding around Budleigh Salterton and Exmouth with my other half the RAW Baker and good friends the Cream Tea Birder and the Cream Tea Bird.

Strong southerlies and rain Saturday morning (8th) promised some good seawatching but unfortunately I missed out due to very painful headache. A look at the sea in much calmer conditions in the afternoon logged just 4+ Kittiwake W, several Northern Gannet, several Shag, a Common Gull and 3 Oystercatcher. A pleasant but equally quiet walk around the Otter Estuary late afternoon produced 1m Stonechat, 3 Black-tailed Godwit (scrape), several Curlew, 1m Shoveler, 134 Eurasian Wigeon, 3 Shelduck, lots of Eurasian Teal, 1 Little Egret and a Cetti's Warbler (H). A mumeration of 2894 Starling gave a fantastic display over the reedbed north of the scrape at dusk, along with an immature Peregrine (that made a kill) and a Sparrowhawk (that didn't).

Very light south-westerlies, largely clear skies (4 oktas) and some sea mist this morning (9th) looked good for some late autumn vis mig, and dawn found us in our chosen east-facing position along the South West Coast Path on the west side of Budleigh Salterton. A two hour session produced 856 Woodpigeon W, 1 Stock Dove W, 1f Bullfinch W, 96 Chaffinch W, 42 Goldfinch W, 15 Meadow Pipit W, 6+ (4H) Skylark SW and 4 Linnet E. Robins were seemingly everywhere and 1+ Peregrine, a Eurasian Sparrowhawk and a Goldcrest were also noted. Nearby at Jubilee Park 2 Firecrest and 1 Goldcrest showed very well but proved too quick for photos, and a late Painted Lady shot past.

An afternoon walk along the Ex Estuary from Exmouth to Mudbank produced 1 Greenshank, several Little Egret, numerous Curlew, several Brent Geese, and a superb 1st winter male Black Redstart flycatching from a roof at Harbour Court, Exmouth (many thanks to Matt Knott).

A look at the Otter Estuary late evening added 1 Kingfisher and a single Northern Lapwing on the scrape, along with 1 Redshank, 3 Little Grebe, 3 Little Egret, 2 Eurasian Sparrowhawk, and 3 Rock Pipit and c40 Pied Wagtail on the beach. Curiously, no Starlings came in to roost at the reedbed this evening.

1st winter male Black Redstart at Harbour Court in Exmouth, 9 November 2014

European Robin, South West Coast Path, Budleigh Salterton, 9 November 2014 - almost trod on this chap

Common Starling, Otter Estuary, 8 November 2014

Common Starling, Otter Estuary, 8 November 2014

30 October 2014

Distant brents: 30 October

Spent a few hours at the patch this morning. Vis mig at Staines Moor produced 6 Brent Goose SW early morning (very distant - probably over Staines Reservoirs), 1 Shelduck E, 1 very pale Common Buzzard SW, 1 Red Kite NE, 17 Linnet S, 2 Chaffinch SW, 1 Reed Bunting SW, 4 Greenfinch S, 6 Pied Wagtail (3S, 1E, 1W) and 3 Stock Dove (NW, SW, W).

Also on Staines Moor, 1 Short-eared Owl flushed on the east side, 2 Water Pipit along the Colne, 10 Stonechat (7m, 3f), 1 1st winter Common Gull on the Colne (unusual here) with 50+ Black-headed Gull (also hawking over the moor), 3 Little Egret, 1 Common Snipe (east side), 1 Collared Dove in the NE corner along Bonehead Ditch (scarce here), 1+ Grey Wagtail, 2+ Pied Wagtail, 29+ Meadow Pipit, 2 Reed Bunting, 2 Little Grebe, 1+ Kingfisher, 2 Common Buzzard (perched up along Bonehead Ditch), 11 Goldfinch on the east side, 3 Kestrel (including a female eating a vole), 3-5 Mallard, 1+ Grey Heron and 1 Great Spotted Woodpecker.

Stanwell Moor added 1 Water Pipit S, 9 Northern Shoveler E and 1m Northern Shoveler on the lake, 2f Common Teal, and 3 Redwing SW at Stanwell Moor Village. Also, over King George VI Reservoir 5 Lapwing S.

Today's Brent Geese (honest they are!)

Short-eared Owl on the east side of Staines Moor today


Two very vocal Water Pipits showed well today along the Colne and flying around overhead

Weather: Cloudy (7 oktas) and slightly misty early morning, becoming brighter late morning, light SW wind, mild.

26 October 2014

Starlings and Chaffinches on the move: 26 October

Skywatching at Staines Moor today produced 1,578 Starling NW, 135 Chaffinch SW (mostly in one hour from 11:00), 2 Siskin S, 13 Linnet (mainly S), 2 Greenfinch (1N, 1S), 14 Goldfinch (12S, 2SW), 1 Reed Bunting S, 33 Redwing (mainly SW), 3 Song Thrush S, 2 Pied Wagtail (1S, 1W) 3 alba wagtail (1E, 1W, 1S), 6 Skylark NW, 65 Woodpigeon (mainly SW), 4 Stock Dove (3SW, 1E), 2 Collared Dove S, 4 Gadwall E and 3 Great Spotted Woodpecker (2W, 1E).

Also 3 Water Pipit along the Colne and around the iris channels in the NW corner, 1 Green Sandpiper flew off SW from the Colne early morning, 9 Stonechat (4m, 5f), 1 Little Egret, 3+ Grey Wagtail, 2 Little Grebe, 1 Kingfisher, 2 more Song Thrush, 2 more Pied Wagtail along the Colne, 6 more Greenfinch, c19 Meadow Pipit, 6 Skylark, 10 more Goldfinch, 5 more Reed Bunting, 1 Mistle Thrush (old railway), 1 Goldcrest (old railway), 3+ Common Buzzard, 1-2 Eurasian Sparrowhawk, 3+ Kestrel and a Water Rail heard from the reeds along the Colne.

Stanwell Moor added 14 more Chaffinch SW, 1 Common Snipe, 3m Teal, 2 Gadwall and 6 Mallard. Also another Chaffinch SW over Stanwell Moor Village.

135 Chaffinch logged today moving south-west in small quite loose flocks, mostly in one hour from 11:00

One of three Water Pipits at Staines Moor today

Weather: Cloudy (8 oktas) becoming slightly brighter in the afternoon (7 octas), very light SW wind becoming moderate late morning, cold.

24 October 2014

Another Ring Ouzel

Very little vis mig today but managed a few good sightings nevertheless. The highlight was a 1st winter female Ring Ouzel picked up circling high over the east side of Staines Moor at 13:34, and dropping down onto the top of the tallest bare tree along the north end of Bonehead Ditch. After reappearing in another bare tree the bird flew and wasn't seen again.

Other passage overhead included 1 Common Snipe S, 1 Mistle Thrush SW, 3 Reed Bunting S, 9 Linnet S, 1 Chaffinch S, 2 Skylark S, 17 Goldfinch (10S, 7N), 4 Stock Dove (2W, 2E), c80 Woodpigeon (mainly SW). Also a small fall of c12 Song Thrush in the hawthorns in the NW corner included 2+ Fieldfare, 5 Redwing and 7 Blackbird, before eventually moving off south.

Along the Colne, 1 Green Sandpiper flew off SW early morning, 1+ Water Pipit, 14 Canada Goose (unusual here nowadays) grazing along the bank of the Colne before being flushed by a dog walker, 2+ Grey Wagtail, 2+ Pied Wagtail, 3 Little Egret and 2 Little Grebe. Also noted: 9 (4m, 5f) Stonechat, 1 Chiffchaff, 1 Goldcrest, 1 Cetti's Warbler showed well along Bonehead Ditch, 2 Common Buzzard along Bonehead Ditch, 21 Skylark, 8 Greenfinch, and another 20 Goldfinch.

Stanwell Moor added 2m Tufted Duck W, 6 Northern Shoveler E, another Goldcrest and Chiffchaff, and a flock of 46 Goldfinch along the footpath beside King George VI Reservoir.

Today's 1st winter female Ring Ouzel

Weather: Cloudy (7-8 oktas), WSW wind.

22 October 2014

Woodpigeon passage over the patch: 22 October

Vis mig at Staines Moor today produced a fairly decent movement of Woodpigeon with 2,449 over SSW (a new record count for Staines Moor), but was otherwise quiet with 1 Collared Dove S (surprisingly scarce on the open moor), 2 Peregrine S then 1 perching on the pylons, 9 Stock Dove S, 1 Redwing SE, 1 Mistle Thrush S, 1 Northern Lapwing S, 1 Reed Bunting S, 1 Grey Wagtail S, 1 alba wagtail S, 5+ Common Buzzard, 1+ Red Kite, 2 Egyptian Goose E, 8 Goldfinch S, 1 Greenfinch N and 2 Skylark NE.

Noted on the ground were 1 Fieldfare in hawthorns on the west side, 1+ Water Pipit along the Colne, 9 (5m, 4f) Stonechat scattered around the moor, 2-4 Grey Wagtail, 2 Pied Wagtail, 3 Little Grebe and 1 Little Egret all along the Colne, 2 Reed Bunting, 1 Kingfisher on the northern footbridge, 1 Common Snipe on the east side, just c15 Meadow Pipit, a few Skylark, 1 Great Spotted Woodpecker, and 2+ Kestrel.

Also on Staines Moor 3 Red Admiral S, and a fantastic Dor Beetle Geotrupes stercorarius.

Stanwell Moor added another 165 Woodpigeon SSW, 41 Eurasian Wigeon W, 3 Northern Lapwing E, and 1 Red-legged Partridge in car field.

One of two Peregrines present today - with all the Columbidae going past it must have been being in YO! Sushi for these guys today.
I wonder if these birds are moving with them?

Few thrushes moving today, with just one Redwing and this Mistle Thrush noted overhead and a single Fieldfare in the bushes

At least one very vocal Water Pipit seen well today, on the ground and in flight

Weather: Clear skies early morning (3 oktas) becoming cloudy in the afternoon (8 oktas) with light rain, light to moderate W wind, cold.

15 October 2014

Thrush fall and vis mig at Staines Moor

With huge numbers of Ring Ouzels moving over coastal sites in the south-east yesterday and light SE winds and showers forecast for today, I decided on a dawn to dusk session at the patch today.

Rain overnight and at dawn grounded large numbers of thrushes, and the hawthorns in the NW corner were heaving with birds first thing. Total thrush counts are a conservative 100 Redwing, 1 Fieldfare, 9+ Song Thrush, 4+ Blackbird, and a frustratingly brief Ring Ouzel seen in very gloomy light before flying off NE and joined in flight by a second. Possibly a third bird with heavily moulting flight feathers was also seen flying off high west from the hawthorns at the north end in a mixed thrush flock, and appeared to drop down by the old railway embankment. By late morning the weather had lifted and almost all the thrushes had departed, mainly S or SW.

Mid morning a Short-eared Owl appeared over the east side of the moor, where it was mobbed by corvids and gulls before landing in the grass. It (or perhaps another bird) then departed high to the north-east before returning, where it remained for the rest of the day, showing well occasionally, and was joined by a second bird late afternoon.

Vis mig produced 1 1st winter Little Gull high W with Black-headed Gulls (the third record for Staines Moor and a patch tick), 83 Linnet (65S, 18N), 19 Skylark (mainly SE), c4 House Martin (c3SW, 1E), 7 Barn Swallow (mainly S), 6 Common Snipe (3S, 3N), 16 Northern Lapwing (mainly NW), 24 Eurasian Wigeon W, 1 Mistle Thrush S, 2 Pied Wagtail S, 4 'alba' wagtails S/SE, 3 Chaffinch S/SW, 2 Jay NE and 5 Egyptian Goose W. Also, 2 Red Admiral S.

2-3 Water Pipit along the Colne are my first of the winter, and 2+ Grey Wagtail, another 4 Pied Wagtail, 3 Little Egret, 1 Little Grebe and 1m Kingfisher were also on the Colne. The Whinchat was still present in the NW corner and 14 Stonechat, 1 Chiffchaff, another Common Snipe, c40 Meadow Pipit (mainly east side), 3+ Common Buzzard, 1+ Sparrowhawk, 3+ Kestrel (including an immature male eating prey on the ground), 4-7 Gadwall, 12 Mallard, c82 Goldfinch (including a flock of c40 on the east side), 4 Greenfinch and 2H Cetti's Warbler (1 Butts Pond, 1 Colne) and another 8+ Skylark, 1 Common Gull and 2 Lesser Black-backed Gull were also logged.

Record of one of today's Ring Ouzels

1st winter Little Gull west over Staines Moor today. This is the third site record (first autumn record), following 1 from 18-24 May 2001
and 2 dip-feeding along the Colne on 15 May 2004.

One of two, perhaps three, Short-eared Owls present today


A mini influx of Short-eared Owls into London and Surrey today, with 2 at Beddington Farmlands 1-2 at Richmond Park and singles
at Capel, Gallions Reach, Ingrebourne Valley Nature Reserve, Island Barn Reservoir (later QEII Res), Maida Vale, Queen Mary
Reservoir, Wanstead Flats, Waterworks Nature Reserve and Wimbledon Common.

Weather: Light SE wind, heavily overcast (7-8 oktas), fairly warm, light rain early morning and rain at dusk.