12 May 2016

Staines Moor: 12 May

For me, birding is all about finding my own birds. I have little interest in seeing birds that others have found, even on the patch. This spring I've been determined to find a good bird at Staines Moor, especially as last spring was so piss poor on the patch. Over the last week alone I've been up before dawn three times and spent no fewer than 29 hours traipsing around covering every millimetre of the patch, with one eye fixed on the sky. While seemingly every other London site has been awash with Arctic Terns, Little Terns, Black Terns, Sanderlings, Wood Sandpipers, flocks of tundra Ringed Plovers, Grey Plovers and Wood Warblers, Staines Moor has yielded nothing!

But with a good passage of waders through London over the last few days I was hoping today would produce a Wood Sandpiper or some other wader along the Colne. Imagine then how I felt when soon after arriving on site this morning, another birder arrives, walks past me, then comes back a few minutes later and tells me there are two Bar-tailed Godwits along the Colne! Now maybe I am being greedy and ungrateful (and well done to the birder who found them as this is a great patch record), but really, FOR FUCK'S SAKE!

Staines Moor records today: 2 Bar-tailed Godwit ((1m and 1f in summer plumage, seen feeding and resting beside the Colne where they appeared to be catching a lot of food, and also on the east pool. The female was ringed and flagged - I'll try and find out where it was ringed), 20 Common Swift (mainly N), 2 Barn Swallow N, 1 Grasshopper Warbler (heard several times and probably glimpsed in flight), 3 Hobby (hunting together over the NW corner), 3 Redshank (2 Colne, 1 east pool), 1m Gadwall (Colne), 1+ Common Tern (Colne), 4 Common Whitethroat, 4 (1m, 3H) Blackcap, 4 (3H) Sedge Warbler, 3H Chiffchaff, 10 Reed Bunting (8m, 2f), 1 Little Egret (Colne), 4-7 Red Kite (1 high W and the others presumably local birds), 2 Stock Dove (Bonehead Ditch), 1m Kestrel, 1 Pied Wagtail W, 2 Common Buzzard (including 1 pale phase NW), 1+ Grey Heron, 1 juv. Robin, and plenty of Skylark, Meadow Pipit and Linnet. No sign of the Stonechats today in a brief search, and still no Cuckoos!

Today's pair of summer plumage Bar-tailed Godwit - check out the size different between the male and female. Still present
beside the Colne at 13:39 when I left.

The female was ringed as follows - left leg: pink flag top, 2 yellow rings bottom; right leg: metal ring top, 2 red rings bottom. Can't make out
much on the metal ring - perhaps 147..? I've reported it to the BTO so maybe they can shed some light.

Found some Yellow Meadow Ants Lasius flavus on an anthill on the west side - only my second ever sighting at Staines Moor (or anywhere for that matter) as the workers rarely stray above ground. The hairless lower sections of the antennae and the tibiae, which are diagnostic of this species, could be seen on the terrible photos I took with the Samsung Note 4. Butterflies today included my first Green-veined White of the year and a Small Copper.

Stanwell Moor added 1 Reed Warbler and 1 Little Egret W.

So I think I am done with this spring and with the patch for a while - it's all far far far far far far far too much effort for little reward and I'm desperately trying to remember why I keep bothering. Who knows though, maybe I can muster enough energy and motivation for one more day this spring of finding bugger all?

Weather: Sunny with some thin cloud, freshening NE wind, rain previous night.


  1. Breathe in..... hold it....... and breathe out again......

  2. It is mentally hard graft walking the same patch of ground day in, day out. But one thing you know is that one day something tasty will turn up. I keep hoping the same at Holmethorpe, but at least I can vary it a bit by just walking the area in a different order! Probably best to take a month off and regroup for the autumn for a another go at a Rambler!

    What the species count is for the Moor so far in 2016? want to add this to the list of patch contenders at the end of the year.