The spring saw another superb passage of Northern Wheatear, with the first, a pair, seen on 16 March, and numbers peaking at an amazing 18 on 2 May. From late April most birds showed characteristics of the Greenland/North American race leucorhoa. Amazing to think that just a few years back Wheatear was much less frequent at the Moor.
|Male Northern Wheatear, probably leucorhoa|
Other spring highlights included Ring Ouzel, Common Redstart, lots of Whinchats, Spotted Flycatcher, Yellow Wagtail, several Red Kites and a Little Owl.
|Adult male Ring Ouzel|
|Whinchat mini-fall - at least 5 birds present 2 May|
Also, during the spring and summer months at least 5 Redshank were present and I stumbled upon a single nest, which I think is the first confirmed breeding for several years.
|Common Redshank nest. Given the number of dogs running around at the Moor|
it's amazing that any ground nesters can successfully raise young here.
The summer months produced some excellent insect sightings, although the wet weather had noticeably and dramatically reduced butterfly numbers.
|Small Copper Lycaena phlaeas|
|Male Banded Demoiselle Calopteryx splendens|
|Female Banded Demoiselle Calopteryx splendens|
Autumn passage, produced Staines Moor's first Northern Gannet, a couple of flocks of Dark-bellied Brent Geese, 1 Ring Ouzel (with another 2 also seen by other observers), 2 Red Kites, 2 Golden Plover and Brambling.
|Staines Moor's first Northern Gannet flew over on 7 November|
|27 Dark-bellied Brent Geese over on 25 October|
|1st winter male Ring Ouzel. At least 3 were seen at the Moor during the autumn.|
Three (four reported by other observers) wintering Short-eared Owls have provided a great finish to the year.
Good birds I missed at the patch this year include Osprey, Firecrest, Treecreeper, Yellowhammer and Little Ringed Plover. National rarities and scarcities seen tantalisingly close to the Moor include London's first 2 Buff-bellied Pipits (less than two miles away), Black Kite, White-winged Black Tern, White Stork, Glossy Ibis, Great White Egret, Roseate Tern, Spoonbill, Tundra Bean Goose, Avocet, Wood Sandpiper, Oystercatcher and Iceland Gull. I can't wait to see what 2013 brings.