6 June 2015

The patch: 6 June

My first visit to the patch for a long time, concentrating on the east side of Staines Moor today. Between my ecological consultancy course, building the new REGUA website and other commitments, I haven't had very much time for birding at all this spring.

Staines Moor produced 1 very elusive Grasshopper Warbler in the thistles and sedges in the SE corner that showed fairly well briefly mid morning though was wasn't particularly vocal, 3 Redshank (1 off from the Colne NE and a very territorial pair beside the Colne, possibly with chicks nearby but I couldn't see any), 1m Lapwing with them that was also behaving a little territorially, 2+ Common Tern (fishing along the Colne and overhead), 1+ Little Egret, 1 Kingfisher and a single Coot all along the Colne, and 1m Tufted Duck flew W from the Colne early morning.

Also a flock of c250 mixed adult and juvenile Common Starling around the livestock, 1 Cetti's Warbler in the NE corner along Bonehead Ditch showed briefly, 3 Sedge Warbler, 5+ Linnet, 6 (5m) Reed Bunting, 1f Sparrowhawk, 2+ Kestrel (including 1 first yr m harassing a female), 2H Reed Warbler, lots of Meadow Pipit (several carrying food) and Skylark, 2 (1ad, 1 imm) Grey Heron, 4H Blackcap, 4H Chiffchaff, a flock of fledged Long-tailed Tits, and 2 (1m, 1f) Common Pheasant in the SE corner.

Logged overhead at Staines Moor were 2 (1m, 1f) Shelduck NNW, 2+ Hobby briefly, 3 Red Kite, 3+ Common Buzzard (including presumably the same pale individual), 2 (1m, 1f) Tufted Duck, 4 Barn Swallow, 9+ House Martin, several Common Swift and 2 Egyptian Geese low S.

Redshank are down to just a single pair this year from a peak of 23 adults and three young on Jun 12th 1999. Re-wetting the moor and encouraging winter flooding would almost certainly improve their numbers.

I didn't spent much time looking for bugs today, but a Cinnabar moth was my first this year, and several Banded Demoiselle and Common Blue Damselflies and lots of Downlooker Snipe-flies Rhagio scolopacea were noted amongst the irises.

Botany-wise, Staines Moor has turned yellow with Meadow Buttercups Ranunculus acris and Yellow iris Iris pseudacorus, with patches of Marsh Stitchwort Stellaria palustris, and along Bonehead Ditch lots of Water Forget-me-not Myosotis scorpioides. Just a single Cuckooflower Cardamine pratensis seen in flower today.

A fair amount of Marsh Stitchwort Stellaria palustris in flower today. This species requires areas where there is standing water in winter
and has declined considerably in southern and eastern England due to the drainage of wetlands and eutrophication from agriculture.
Now classified as Vulnerable on the Vascular Plant Red Data List for Great Britain and a UK BAP priority vascular plant species.

Stanwell Moor added 3(2H) Common Whitethroat, a pair of Canada Geese with two young and 4-5 Shelduck SE.

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