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


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


    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