Welcome to my blog. If you live in Surrey and birding is your obsession (to get out of bed at some ridiculously early time of the morning, no matter what the weather, to go and look at birds isn't normal behaviour, believe me) and you're still a bit of a novice (like me) then, hopefully, this blog is for you.

Tuesday 15 November 2011


The current drought continues, and it's driving me crazy. It's making me wonder why on earth I do this. Especially at the moment, when I just haven't really got the time to focus on a hobby that doesn't pay the bills. Yellow-browed Warbler was first, then Hen Harrier and now Short-eared Owl.

During the past month I've missed them all. The Yellow-browed Warbler is now history for this year - I'm glad to see the imaginary back of it to be perfectly honest - and a Hen Harrier is not easy to find in Surrey, but Short-eared Owls have been popping up all over the place. The were two sightings over my local patch at Holmethorpe recently, another at Farthing Downs, near Coulsdon, a couple of days ago, plus two sightings at Canons Farm over the weekend. Scroll down the lists of sightings on Rare Bird Alert, and Short-eared Owl comes up more than most.

I paid Canons Farm a visit on Monday night in the fog and drizzle but predictably drew a blank, and tonight, accompanied by top patch watcher David Campbell and John Blenham, one failed to turn up again.

I know I'm trying too hard, I should just go with the flow, but time is running out for the year. Next plan is to go to Papercourt, near Ripley, and try the meadows there. A friend of mine and former colleague at Racing Post, Francis Kelly, saw two being hassled by crows on Sunday evening, while there was a further sighting tonight of one hunting over the meadows. Everyone else is having the fun and I could do with something to smile about soon. An early morning start it is then...

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