27 January 2015

Half Snipes at Staines Moor: 27 January

A very long but worthwhile day at the patch today. The undoubted highlight was an extremely close encounter with a Jack Snipe on Staines Moor - watched for about half an hour at a range of approximately two metres. Frozen to the spot, the bird did its best pretending to be a part of the vegetation by crouching low to the ground, allowing a rare opportunity to study the plumage pattern and colours. The green and purple on the scapulars and mantle contrasting with the bright yellow stripes are really beautiful at such close range. Another 2 Jack Snipe were also seen around the Moor (sorry but the precise locations will remain undisclosed).

Staines Moor is a traditional wintering site for Jack Snipe. The first record was of 2 on 26 September 1937, and the highest site count is 8 on 20 March 2003. The earliest returning date is 1 in July 2002 and the latest departing record is 1 on 11 April 1951.

One of three Jack Snipe today - this bird was just two metres from me!

Spot the Jack Snipe (click to enlarge)!

Feather detail on Jack Snipe - stunning!

Other notables seen today were the Dartford Warbler glimpsed associating with a pair of Stonechat west of the Colne, 5+ Water Pipit (mainly along the Colne), 10 Little Grebe along the Colne (another new site record), a single Eurasian Woodcock in the NE corner an hour before dawn, 1 Water Rail swimming in the Colne (at the reeds by the northern footbridge), 9 (5m, 4f) Stonechat, 1 Peregrine and 4 Tufted Duck that flew off from the Colne at dawn.

Eurasian Woodcock shortly before dawn this morning

Still nine Stonechat on Staines Moor

More common species noted through the day include 1+ Common Buzzard, 1 Eurasian Sparrowhawk, 1 Common Snipe, 2 Little Egret, 1+ Grey Wagtail (Colne), 3 Kestrel, 7 Fieldfare, 3 Mistle Thrush, 5 Song Thrush, 1 Reed Bunting, 4+ Skylark, 24+ Meadow Pipit, 2+ Grey Heron, 8 Common Moorhen, 1m Common Pheasant (swamp), Overhead, 2 Egyptian Goose SE and 25 Woodpigeon NW were logged.

Stanwell Moor added a pair of Northern Shoveler and 1m Gadwall.

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