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.

12 October 2014

Wigeon passage increases

More of the same at the patch today (12 October). Some good passage of Eurasian Wigeon (mainly over Stanwell Moor) in the morning after the fog cleared with a total of 218 E including one superb flock of 103. Over Staines Moor: 8 Gadwall (mainly E), 1m Tufted Duck SE, 1 Red Kite SE, 3 Northern Lapwing S, 2 Mistle Thrush NW, 18 Magpie purposely S in a single flock, 6 Stock Dove S, 3 Chaffinch (2 SW, 1 SE) and 76 Woodpigeon (the first movement of the autumn) logged overhead in a couple of hours.

On the ground at Staines Moor: 1m Whinchat in the NW corner associating with Stonechats, 10 (5m, 5f) Stonechat, 3+ Grey Wagtail, 2 Little Egret along the Colne, 1+ Kingfisher, 2+ Common Buzzard along the west side (local birds), 2 Chiffchaff in with a Long-tailed Tit flock, 2+ Reed Bunting, 24+ Meadow Pipit, c20 Skylark, 3 Song Thrush and 2+ Kestrel. Just 1 Red Admiral seen today and a Red Fox.

Also, a Common Snipe W over Stanwell Moor, and a Eurasian Sparrowhawk over Stanwell Moor Village.

103 of the 218 Eurasian Wigeon over east today

Today's Whinchat

Chaffinches are now moving. East coast watchpoints such as Filey and Spurn are reporting movements ranging from tens to 224
over Gibraltar Point over recent days, and even London sites have logged good counts with 53 over Beddington Farmlands, 50 over
Hampstead Heath, and 44 over Richmond Park in 30 minutes on 3rd October. This is one of just three overhead today though.

Weather: Light SW wind, fog early morning, light overcast (8 oktas), cold.

9 October 2014

A few autumn moths

Moth numbers have been pitifully low at the light over the last week or so, with several nights without a single moth! Despite some warm and sunny days, temperatures have been dropping sharply in the evenings. Best of a very sparse bunch have been:

Pine Carpet Thera firmata - 1 on 27/28 September
Red-green Carpet Chloroclysta siterata - 29/30 September
Diamond-back Moth Plutella xylostella - 1 on 27/28 September
Hoary Footman Eilema caniola - 1 on 29/30 September

Pine Carpet Thera firmata, 28 September 2014

Red-green Carpet Chloroclysta siterata, 30 September 2014

3 October 2014

Black Tern over Staines Moor - a site first

Despite unfavourable vis mig conditions skywatching produced a surprise first for Staines Moor - an adult Black Tern over west towards Wraysbury Reservoir. Frustratingly, I didn't notice it until was flying away from me and didn't get a photo. Black Tern becomes the 192nd bird species to be recorded at Staines Moor.

Light passage overhead this morning for an hour or so after the fog cleared included 2 White Wagtail S, 52 Eurasian Wigeon E (with at least some dropping down onto King George VI Reservoir), 4-5 Grey Wagtail (mainly S with 2 briefly dropping onto the northern footbridge over the Colne), 1 1st yr Hobby S, 5 Barn Swallow S, 28 Skylark (mainly S) and 2 Reed Bunting S.

Highlights on the ground: 1 Yellow Wagtail flying off W from the Colne, 9 (5m, 4f) Stonechat, c46 Meadow Pipit, 4(1H) Chiffchaff, several Blackbird and Song Thrush gorging on hawthorn berries, 2-3 Common Snipe, 4+ Linnet, 1 Kingfisher, another 2 Reed Bunting, 15+ Mallard on the Colne (a high count here nowadays), 4 Jackdaw (fairly scarce here) and 3 Grey Heron.

5 Kestrel, 2 Red Kite and 1-2 Eurasian Sparrowhawk were also logged, and also notable was a light southerly movement of Red Admirals Vanessa atalanta across the Moor from midday (with at least 11 seen), and a Red Fox.

Stanwell Moor added 1+ Common Buzzard and 1(H) Cetti's Warbler.

Some of the 52 Eurasian Wigeon moving over east today

Weather: Light SW wind, sunny, fairly warm, fog early morning.