16 February 2014

Bittern on the patch!

A long but excellent day at the patch today in glorious weather for a change. The highlight was a very brief Bittern that flew in to roost at dusk (17:25). Patch tick! Unfortunately it didn't show again by dark but it's good to know there's one about. Also I could hear a Water Rail squealing away on Stanwell Moor.

On Staines Moor the water level has dropped a little but much of the Moor is still flooded, especially on the west side. The Wraysbury River is the highest I've seen it - ideal for christening the new hip waders. Sightings from Staines Moor today include 1 Short-eared Owl showing well in the north-east corner from 16:35, 1 Woodcock around the anthills in the north-east corner after dark, 1+ Water Pipit in the south-west corner, 1 Water Rail along the Colne in the large willow clump, 1(H) Cetti's Warbler in the north-east corner, 4 (2m, 2f) Stonechat, 1 Little Egret along the Colne, 9 Reed Bunting (mainly males, some singing), 2 Red Kite over, 2-4 Common Buzzard over, 8 Lapwing (5 over), 2 Common Snipe (1 heard at night), 22 Fieldfare, 1 Redwing, 2 Mistle Thrush, 20 Pied Wagtail, 8 Skylark (some singing), 20 Meadow Pipit, 1 Grey Heron, 9 Mute Swan, several Mallard (mostly coming into the pools at night), 4 Green Woodpecker and 4 (1H) Moorhen.

Also, 4 Chub Leuciscus cephalus swimming around my feet in floodwater under the railway bridge was a strange sight. Just outside the patch boundary 1 Sparrowhawk flew over along Moor Lane, and 4 Common Buzzard were noted at M25/M3 junction (with another probable nearby).

1 Short-eared Owl showed from about 16:35 this evening.

Water levels have dropped a little in recent days, although the River Colne is still extremely high - you can just make out the
highest water mark on the left of this photo (click to enlarge)

The River Colne at the southern end, looking north-west

The pool west of the Colne

Flooding around anthills of the Yellow Meadow Ant Lasius flavus in the north-west corner of Staines Moor. The ants live almost
entirely underground and survive flooding events by creating bubbles of air in their nests.

The channel in the south-west of Staines Moor

3 comments:

  1. Good to hear the SEO is still showing well. I'm hopefully going to be able to visit soon. Is it showing everyday?

    Jack

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    Replies
    1. Hi Jack, the owl seems to show late afternoon (from around 16:30) but it hasn't been reported every day. Check out the London Bird Club Wiki site for the latest sightings: http://londonbirders.wikia.com/wiki/LatestNews

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