29 December 2015

Final patch visit of 2015: 29 December

A very uneventful final patch visit of 2015 today. Highlights on Staines Moor were 4 Water Pipit (Colne), 1 Treecreeper (old railway), 11 Stonechat (6m, 5f), 3 (1H) Common Chiffchaff, 15 Goldcrest (including 1 in subsong), 5 Little Grebe (Colne), 1 Coot (Colne - first of the winter), 2f Reed Bunting, 1 Little Egret, 1 Redwing, 17+ Fieldfare (Bonehead Woodland), 1H Siskin over, 15+ Goldfinch, 4 Meadow Pipit, 2+ Skylark, 2-5 Red Kite, 1 Common Buzzard, 3 Stock Dove and a Great Spotted Woodpecker seen entering a roost hole along Bonehead Woodland at dusk.

Also, plenty of birds heard singing today in the extremely mild conditions including Song Thrush, Common Chiffchaff, Wren, Robin and Great Tit.

Stanwell Moor added 39 Northern Lapwing, 4m Northern Shoveler E and 1m Sparrowhawk.

1 of 4 Water Pipits along the Colne today. Unfortunately I couldn't get close enough for any better photos.

Weather: Mild, sunny, 2 oktas, light but cool S wind.

28 December 2015

River Mole LNR, Leatherhead: 28 December

Rachel and went for a walk along the River Mole at Leatherhead today that proved surprisingly productive for birds. Highlights were 2m Goosander that showed very well, a pair of Kingfisher that appeared to be excavating a nest (this is the most messed up winter I've ever known!) with perhaps another 2 birds further upstream, 1 Little Egret over NW, 1+ Common Chiffchaff and several Redwing.

24 December 2015

Staines Moor Black Stork accepted

Heard today via Twitter that my Black Stork over Staines Moor on 18th September has been accepted by The 10 Rare Men. Just in time for Crimbo - super!

23 December 2015

Staines Moor: 23 December

A couple of hours spotlighting this evening proved very productive with 2 Barn Owl (NE corner), 1 Little Owl (north end), 1-2 Jack Snipe (east pool and south end), 2 Eurasian Woodcock (1 south end, 1 north end), 5+(4+H) Common Snipe (including 1 on the ground in the torch light for a change), 2 Red-legged Partridge (NE corner, a Water Rail heard (Bonehead Ditch in NE corner) and 1 Red Fox. An almost full moon prevented getting close enough for photos though.

Spent some time searching for fungi in the afternoon when the following also noted: 1 Golden Plover (flew off NE from the west side calling), 3 Water Pipit (Colne), 6 Little Grebe (Colne), 5 Stonechat (3m, 2f), 3 Goldcrest and 1+ Kestrel.

4 December 2015

Spelthorne Borough Council Staines Moor management meeting: 4 December

Met up with Steve Price, the Countryside and Commons Officer at Spelthorne Borough Council, local naturalist Nick Orson and ecologist Luke today on Staines Moor to discuss the management of the site.

Steve is producing a three year management plan that includes re-wetting the moor, management of invasive vegetation to encourage breeding and wintering waders and maintain the moor's important flora, and controlling non-native invasive species, while protecting the grazing rights of the Moormasters. However, there is a lot of red tape to deal with, especially for the re-wetting work.

Some clearance of bramble and younger hawthorn patches has already resumed, but birders will be pleased to learn that most of the larger hawthorns in the NW corner and along the west side will be left in place for breeding Linnet and Lesser Whitethtroat, passage migrants and winter thrushes.

More on the management to follow but suffice to say I am feeling very positive about the plans, and like his predicesor David Hicks, Steve is very open to advice, questions and offers of help. If you have any questions please contact me at lee.dingain@gmail.com or Steve Price at S.Price@spelthorne.gov.uk.

Birds noted today include 1 Treecreeper with Long-tailed Tits along the River Wraysbury beside the M25, 2+ Water Pipit, 1 Northern Lapwing, 2+ Little Grebe, 1 Little Egret and 1+ Grey Wagtail along the Colne, 1 Common Snipe (swamp), 6 (4m, 2f) Stonechat, 4 Red Kite, 3 Goldcrest, 1 Stock Dove 1 Common Buzzard (the regular pale bird), 1m Tufted Duck off from the lake at Moor Lane, 7(1H) Meadow Pipit, several Skylark, 1+ Kestrel, 1 Pied Wagtail E, 25+ Carrion Crow (numbers are now increasing for the winter) and 4 Egyptian Goose W. Also a Song Thrush in the grass on the east side is unusual here - an exhausted migrant? 1 Reed Bunting SSW, 2 Goldfinch SW, 1 Stock Dove SW, and 23 Woodpigeon SW were the only migrants noted moving overhead.

A couple of hours spotlighting after dark produced 1 flighty Eurasian Woodcock (south end), 1+H Tawny Owl (Bonehead Woodland), 2H Common Snipe, 3H Redwing, 1 Red Fox, and best of all, 1 superb Barn Owl hunting at close range over the rough grass on the east side of Moor Lane (by the closed railway crossing near the old Swan pub).