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.

Thursday 26 April 2012


I've been waiting a long time to write that headline. I saw my third different Ring Ouzel of the spring late this afternoon. In a howling gale I met up with Ian Jones, who'd seen the male bird first, and David Campbell at Canons Farm.

It was distant and views consisted of brief sightings on the ground through a gap in the hedgerow in Bog Field and better views on top of the hedgerow itself, but a Ring Ouzel is a bird I never tire of watching.

A male Ring Ouzel at Canons Farm late this afternoon
David believes this is the same bird, with a damaged crescent, that was seen a couple of weeks ago on the farm, so it has stayed for a remarkably long time. Later in the evening, yet another Ouzel, a female this time, was seen in a popular Ring Ouzel haunt, Infront George Field.

It has been a brilliant spring for Ring Ouzel sightings across the country, and Canons Farm reflects that with at least six different birds seen during more than a two-week period.

On the way back home I also came across a couple of Mandarin swimming in a flooded area of a field along Rocky Lane, near Redhill.

Two Mandarin swimming in a flooded field on Rocky Lane, Redhill
So what else has been happening? Not a lot from my point of view. I did get to see a Common Sandpiper (129) at Spynes Mere on my local patch at Holmethorpe, plus a few House Martins (130) feeding on the Water Colour Lagoons with a number of Sand Martins and Swallows.

A Common Sandpiper at Spynes Mere
Most of the real excitement, however, has been happening while I've been working, with Holmethorpe's first Whimbrel of the year seen by Paul Kerry on Monday, which followed on from one seen at Canons Farm by Steve Gale on Sunday.

Holmethorpe has also had its first Greenshank (Paul saw this one), Hobby (Gordon Hay), Cuckoo (Paul and Graham James, who also saw a second Whimbrel this morning) and Garden Warbler (also Gordon Hay).

I managed to pop over to the patch this morning and saw my first Common Swifts (131) of the year, four of them swooping over the Water Colour Lagoons towards Mercers Lake, and a couple of Lesser Whitethroats (132) at Spynes Mere.

Other areas have had some spectacular sightings. Beddington had their first Corn Bunting this century drop in today, plus plenty of tasty flyovers during the storms this week, including Bar-tailed Godwits, Arctic Terns, Whimbrels, a Black Tern, Grey Plover and Hobby. Staines Reservoir had a notable 68 Arctic Terns on the north basin on Tuesday and 46 Little Gulls the following day.

Holmethorpe plays host to its annual Bird Race this Sunday, in which anyone can take part. The idea is to see as many bird species on the patch in one day. The winner gets to gloat, but little else...

It will also be the first day this year where I get to spend a whole day watching birds. I may not spend the whole day at Holmethorpe – I've a few other places I also want to go to – but if you decide to pay the patch a visit this weekend, I might see you there!

Monday 23 April 2012


It was always going to be so. When Saturday comes the birds arrive and I'm nowhere to be seen. I'm having a terrible run of bad luck lately.

To follow on from last week's blog post I spent most of the past week either working in London or from home. Birding has been simply out of the question.

Frustrating during the migration month of April, but I did managed to squeeze in a bit of birding in on Friday. During the afternoon I travelled to Staines Reservoir, Canons Farm and made a brief visit to Holmethorpe.

It had been an unpredictable week on the weather front, with sunshine and heavy showers pretty much the order of every day. Friday was, if anything, even more extreme. When the rain arrived it came down in torrents, mixed on occasions with plenty of hail. Perversely, this is good news because some migrants attempting to travel to their summer destinations will get tired or just held up and may drop in at places they would, in normal circumstances, simply fly over – like Surrey.

On my way to Staines I drove past the A3 junction of the M25 as the heavens opened. I even took a photo. Literally a minute later a text dropped in on my phone from Johnny Allen. A White Stork had circled over Oakham, just to the south west of the junction and had headed ENE just two minutes beforehand. It may have flown over my car as I went by...

I can't think of a more unfortunate series of coincidental events have happened to me with this recreational pastime (recreational is putting an optimistic slant on things). If you have looked at earlier posts from last year you will have read that I left the Cuckmere Haven area literally within minutes of a White Stork landing there....

See a White Stork anyone?
The visit to Staines, thankfully, was good. I met up with local birder Ken Purdey and with his expert help I was able to find an classic Arctic Tern (125) in amongst the six or seven Common Terns (126) feeding on the north basin, and four Little Gulls, including a stunning adult in summer plumage feeding on the water. These were the best views I have had of Little Gulls this year. Also present was the Shag on the rafts on the north basin – before it flew to the south basin – and a Little Ringed Plover on the western edge of the south basin. Earlier I has found my first Yellow Wagtail (127) of the spring, in amongst a group of Pied Wagtails and two White Wagtails on the causeway. An excellent visit.

An adult Little Gull at Staines Reservoir
A Yellow Wagtail in amongst a group of Pied Wagtails
A White Wagtail with Pied Wagtails
With time ticking by quickly I left for Canons Farm. Once there, I watched the male Ring Ouzel that has been a feature in the field next to the Reads Rest Cottages, strangely named In Front George Field, for, as I write this, 11 days now. This male Ring Ouzel has been at the farm for so long now he has been given the name Pinchy by the Canons Farm patchmeister David Campbell.

'Pinchy' the Ring Ouzel has been at Canons Farm for 10 days
Pinchy the Ring Ouzel has been happily feeding on worms in the stubble field – it is clearly a feeding area he is reluctant to leave.

Ring Ouzels are fabulous birds – one of my favourites – and 2012 has been a fantastic year for them. In the same way the Short-eared Owls during the winter were a significant feature, so the Ring Ouzels have been during the past month.

A Common Whitethroat at Spynes Mere
To finish the afternoon off I saw my first Common Whitethroat (128) of the spring at Spynes Mere.

While I was at Canons Farm I met up with David and we spoke about potential birds that could appear during the next few days. One of those discussed was the Pied Flycatcher. Canons Farm has ideal habitat for these handsome birds. They don't breed in the south-east – they are more of a western Britain bird – but David felt one could drop in. A male had been seen at Winkworth Arboretum a week earler.

So to Saturday. As those of you who read this blog know, Saturdays are generally a bird-free zone these days for me. It was the same yesterday.

David was heading a birding tour of 30-plus people around Canons during the day and hoped the Ring Ouzel would stay for just for one more day so that his visitors would get to see a very good bird. As it happened Pinchy didn't let him down and was still feeding in the field and flying into the holly bush yesterday. Many people will be sorry to see this Ring Ouzel go.

That was the good news as far as I was concerned.

It came up on Twitter and on as a text. A male Pied Flycatcher was discovered at the farm yesterday and was showing really well in the late afternoon. Earlier, an Avocet was seen very early on Mercers Lake at Holmethorpe by Gordon Hay, before flying over to Spynes Mere for the morning. At Staines Reservoir a Sandwich Tern was seen, as was a Brent Goose (another was sighted at Beddington) and two Whimbrels. Also five Ring Ouzels were noted on the North Downs escarpment at Titsey.

By Sunday morning, when I had an opportunity to pay a visit, the Pied Flycatcher had gone. Fate is not kind.

Monday 16 April 2012


Saturdays. It strikes me that this is the day of the week when the best sightings occur. It also happens to be the one day of the week when I'm unlikely to be out birding.

I'm currently working six days a week, in a bid to make life a bit more comfortable than it has been for a while. When you work for yourself it's vital to increase your income year on year. This is mostly due to the rise in the cost of living, which in recent years has accelerated alarmingly.

Work is hard to find in the current climate. Everyone is cutting back. I didn't notice it as much last year but 2012 is increasingly looking as though it's going to be a tough one.

The price of petrol has gone up incrementally week on week. I find it strange that there isn't more of an outcry about this like there was a couple of years ago, when fuel suddenly took a hike in price. But now, with an extra penny added to a litre here and a couple more there, we've somehow been lulled into an acceptance that this is the way it has to be. But to fill up the tank now is staggeringly expensive – more than £80 to fill up an old Mondeo which will run out after about 400 miles.

Two years ago a litre of petrol cost about 112 pence. Now it is 141 pence or more. The price of gas and electricity has also risen, so the utility bills are more expensive than ever.

So with this increase in fuel prices, and work harder to come by, I'm noticing I haven't got much, if any, money left over month on month.

I only get one day a week off at the moment, and seeing as my wife would like us, quite reasonably, to spend that one day a week together, Saturday is the day of choice.

The last few Saturdays have been a challenge. Trying to block out of my head what might be happening around the county of Surrey on the bird front is mightily difficult. And each Saturday I can't help but look on Twitter or Rare Bird Alert to see what has been going on. And generally it's usually loads. I also inevitably get a text from someone spreading the good news of an unusual migrant on my doorstep...

Every Saturday for the last month, that is basically what has happened. Last Saturday it was Ring Ouzels - these birds have been coming over in swathes this past week around the country, so it has been nice to eventually catch up with them this past week, including on Friday at Canons Farm, but this Saturday has been the worst for good news by far.

On my local patch at Holmethorpe, two Common Scoters appeared on Mercer's Lake. I have no idea when the last time one of these has turned up on the patch, but it was before my time, that's for sure. I just had to smile (through grinding teeth). Then three more Ring Ouzels dropped in at Canons Farm. So now that was three males and a female Ouzel on the farm.

I had been over on Friday in the late afternoon to see the first male Ring Ouzel near Reads Rest Cottages. It had been showing really well in the spring sunshine as it flew from tree to bush to stubble field, feeding on worms and was generally very co-operative. I had also hoped to see a male Common Redstart in the same field – one had been present all day – but it flew off just before I arrived.

A male Ring Ouzel at Canons Farm on Friday evening
So last Saturday I was staring at Tweets telling me that there were two Common Scoters at Holmethorpe all day, four Ring Ouzels at Canons and, just for good measure, a Golden Plover had dropped in too.

Year listing has pretty much been scuppered this past couple of weeks – I've just missed too many unusual sightings to have a prayer of totting up a better total than last year. I know they appear to be a bit late in arriving to Britain this year, but I haven't even seen a Common Whitethroat yet.

So the Scoters came and went. The Ouzels and the Plover were still present today – but I was working in London. A possible Corn Bunting was also heard. I'm at Racing Post tomorrow and Wednesday afternoon, which leaves me with tomorrow and Wednesday morning plus snippets on Thursday and Friday, before it's Saturday again.

The weather forecast looks diabolical for venturing outside during the next four days, but then with heavy rain and gales in the mix, who knows? Something amazing may turn up.

Wednesday 11 April 2012


I have a habit of reading my previous posts a few days after they've been written and often find glaring errors in the copy. It shouldn't bother me really, but it's truly toe-curling considering that one of the things I do for a living is sub-edit for a national newspaper.

With that in mind, it just shouldn't happen. There is no excuse. I should be more careful (I wrote inner 'piece' in the last post rather than inner 'peace'! Unbelievable – I've changed it now), but I usually race through it and fit writing this around the trivial matter of earning a living and having a normal life (whatever that is).

I read Steve Gale's blog today and his response to my recent tale of woe and felt immediately reassured. I had lost my perspective, took my eye off the life ball. I need to relax. Chill.

Unfortunately, I also have to accept that I'm someone prone to addictive pursuits like birding. Once upon a time it was horse racing – my work is still predominantly based on this sport – then motorsport (I still dabble) and now it's birding. I've no idea how all these are linked but there it is.

I look at the well-known twitchers among us, Garry Bagnell is one that immediately springs to mind, and I realise that birding can be, and no offence to Garry, like collecting stamps or trainspotting. It's about enjoying watching birds perhaps but it is also equally about collecting things, and blokes with addictive personalities like collecting things more than an enthusiastic Jackdaw.

I've mentioned this before, but I don't really fit into any birding camp. I neither patch list nor twitch, but sometimes I do both. I suppose it doesn't really matter so long as you enjoy what you're doing. On that particular front, I'm always on a roller-coaster. Some days I'm up, others I'm down. And the down days are always worse than the up days.

Yesterday was most definitely an up day. It couldn't have been much better.

After Easter Monday's success at tracking down the Staines Moor Ring Ouzel, I went back for some more Ouzel-watching this morning. I got up early and was at the south end of the Moor for 6.30am. What a difference a day makes. On Monday, the weather was awful, but yesterday it was fantastic. The air was still, the sky was bright and blue. The sun shone brightly. Perfect.

Maybe too perfect. If the weather is good, there is always the concern that a Ring Ouzel may be tempted to set off for its northern breeding grounds.

I was met at the bridge over the River Colne by top Surrey birder, Kev Duncan – it was his first visit to see the Ring Ouzel. I felt like an old hand.

Almost immediately we stepped over the bridge I spotted the handsome male Ring Ouzel perched in a bush. Amazing. It took just a few seconds to find it – it was hard to miss its brilliant white chest in the bright sunlight.

The male Ring Ouzel at Staines Moor
We managed to edge closer and I was able to fire off a few digiscope photos that I was quite pleased with. The quality of my photos isn't great but I maintain that is mainly due to have a ten year-old Fuji Finepix camera and a knackered Opticron scope that got smashed when I fell over last summer. I managed to glue the prism back in place and then wrap the casing back together with gaffer tape. It works perfectly well.

Kev left after about half an hour but I stayed on to enjoy at least another hour watching this magnificent bird fly around the area and feed around the anthills. It was the best view of a Ring Ouzel I have had.

The Ring Ouzel spent long periods feeding around the anthills
I also managed to see three more Wheatear, but they were flighty – you couldn't get so near as 50 yards from them before they flew further away, and a Little Ringed Plover by the edge of the river.

Little Ringed Plover
Flighty female Wheatear
So that was Staines Moor. I arrived back home at 10.00am satisfied and able to concentrate fully on work...

At 4.30pm I got a text from Kevin 'Kojak' Guest. I haven't seen Kojak for more than a year but had heard he was back on the birding scene. He was on Nutfield Ridge hoping to see a Red Kite, but instead he'd just seen a Raven fly to the landfill site on the edge of the Holmethorpe patch.

This Raven had been seen a couple of times over Easter, and it had probably discovered the landfill on its travels.

If you go to South Wales, you will see and hear Ravens all the time, but in Surrey they are very rare, so while I had already seen one in Surrey earlier this year at Crooksbury Common, I hadn't seen this one on the patch.

I met up with Kojak in Nutfield Cemetery, where you can see the landfill site really well, and it wasn't long before we saw the Raven fly back to the rubbish tip and then return to the trees behind us, but out of view.

A Raven flies over Nutfield Ridge towards the Redhill landfill 
It repeatedly migrated from the cemetery to the landfill area, and could be seen spotted on the rubbish tip when the rest of the Carrion Crows took flight to mob it – its size compared to the crows was a give away, as was the pronounced bill. A brilliant bird to see on the Holmethorpe patch.

The Raven perched up on Coldharbour Lane
A day in complete contrast to Sunday. Really enjoyable. What a fickle person I am...

Tuesday 10 April 2012


It's been a bit of a struggle this Easter break. Good Friday morning was spent on Staines Moor in the vain hope of finding a Ring Ouzel. Nothing doing, but at least I caught up with my first Wheatears (116) of the spring – three females. They didn't hang around for long as the one dog walker on the Moor at 8.00am happened to walk right through the middle of them. One record shot was all I could get.

Female Wheatear at Staines Moor
I also connected with my first Willow Warbler (117) on the walk back to the car but that was about it.

I found Staines Reservoir very hard going too – I just couldn't find anything interesting apart from a Redshank and a Little Ringed Plover. There were many gulls on the basins, but finding a Little Gull (my target bird) simply wasn't happening.

I have a habit of letting my head drop in these situations. I should just take my time and eventually the birds will come into view – but I get a sort of birding blindness when I'm feeling stressed (which is quite a lot of the time at the moment). I don't have inner peace – it's almost certainly because of other matters closer to home. Work, illness in the family – both Annie's and mine – and a lack of funds to get certain jobs done, like finding a new engine the Peugeot 206. My mojo has been on hold.

I resigned myself to the walk down the causeway back to the car and the drive home when I bumped into Tice's Meadow birders Dave Baker and Rich Horton, who had just arrived.

It wasn't long before they were able to steer me on to a Little Gull (118). It was a long way out but at least I could distinguish it from the larger Black-headed Gulls.

Later in the afternoon, I popped over to the patch and found the drake Scaup with some Tufted Ducks on Water Colour Lagoon 2 next to the island in the middle of the lake.

Drake Scaup at Holmethorpe
This male has been on the patch for the entire winter and beyond. It has developed into a really handsome individual and, interestingly, was displaying in front of some of female Tufties. It wouldn't surprise me if we have a few hybrid Scaup/Tufted Duck chicks swimming around in the coming months.

Drake Scaup displaying with a female Tufted Duck
So that was Good Friday – OK, but not totally satisfying. We were out all day Saturday, and I made the fatal mistake of looking at Twitter for any birding updates at lunchtime.

Annie gets exasperated when I do this. I should just leave Twitter, Rare Bird Alert and email alone when we're out. If a Common Yellowthroat turns up a mile from my house when I'm away, there's nothing I can do about it. By looking for trouble I end up finding it and the result is anxiety for me and for anyone around close by (normally Annie). It takes all my willpower to find some steel to force myself to make the best of it.

So I looked at Twitter, and staring at me was a tweet from Adrian Luscombe, local Staines birder and regular Tweeter. 'RING OUZEL - male - Staines Moor, now!!! Also Cuckoo'. I couldn't believe it. The one day I'm away and a key bird of the spring migration turns up. Great. Bloody marvellous.

The problem with migrating birds like Ring Ouzels is that you can never tell how long they will stay before they head further north to their breeding grounds. It could be a day, a few days, maybe a week if you're lucky?

Fateful episodes like this happen so regularly I'm beginning to wonder whether there is some form of Devine intervention taking place. I'm not even faintly religious but I wonder why this happens so often.

Saturday came and went. We had a very late night and yet I was still determined to get up early and travel around the M25 to Staines.

I managed to drag myself out of the house by 7am on Easter Sunday after just over three hours sleep, and 45 minutes later I was walking down the footpath next to the King George VI Reservoir towards the Moor. The weather wasn't great - it was dull, misty with rain in the air. The heavy clouds didn't really lighten up – and neither did I as it became clear I wasn't going to find the Ring Ouzel. There were plenty of other birders around – not always a good sign – but this Ouzel had either moved on overnight, or was steadfastly keep its head down.

What I did see, however, was a Tree Pipit (119). An unusual sighting for the Moor and quite early too.  At first I thought it must be a Meadow Pipit but it sang like a Tree Pipit and it behaved like one too, climbing up from its perch, singing, before descending down again with its distinctive parachute flight and flight song.

Tree Pipit at Staines Moor
After a couple of hours I left for Staines Reservoir, where I saw the Shag swimming close to the causeway on the south basin, plus a couple of Little Gulls, and a beautiful Black-necked Grebe, resplendent in its summer plumage.

Black-necked Grebe at Staines Reservoir

The Shag close to the causeway at Staines Reservoir
I didn't stay long and on the way home made a diversion to Godstone and a stream that runs near Leigh Place to find a Grey Wagtail (120) to add to my Surrey list.

It had been a grey day so far and my mood wasn't much better. It was made worse when I looked at Twitter again. The Ring Ouzel reappeared about 30 minutes after I left. I couldn't believe it – well, I could actually, but just didn't want to. It convinced me there must be a god – it's just that he hates me most of the time.

It was then when I became very childish. I think this is an issue I need to address quickly if I don't want to appear even more pathetic than I really am. I'm 53 this year, for god's sake!

I mentally started throwing the dollies out of the pram.

I made the decision that I was going to have a sabbatical from birding for a while. Maybe a month, maybe two. Why not a year? I was getting totally cheesed off with feeling disappointment more than I felt elation. For some reason I was really struggling to deal with this dip.

I'm not sure why my emotions were more extreme this time more than others, but whatever the reason, I felt loathsome, utterly miserable, dejected, defeated, distraught.

It took me most of the day to get over it, and it wasn't long before the sabbatical was only going to last less than a day and I was going back out in the field to fight another day.

Which brings us up-to-date and Easter Monday. The Ring Ouzel had been reported as seen again in the morning, feeding on the anthills, north of the River Colne. and the Cuckoo was back. The weather forecast was dire. Heavy rain and strong winds. It wasn't too bad early on, but by the time I was heading for Staines again, the wind and rain had got heavier.

I parked at the southern end of the Moor this time for a change – and was soon walking up through the middle of it in a stiff breeze.

The rain came and went as I walked onto the bridge over the river at the 'Brown Shrike' end. I was joined by another birder and we went on a search for a black bird with a white bib on its chest.

Within 30 minutes we had our first fleeting glimpse of the male Ring Ouzel (121) as it flew low and fast before landing in a small tree. Flying ahead of it was the Cuckoo (122), which landed on a tree further ahead. We walked closer and managed to have eye contact with the Ring Ouzel as it flew back the way it came and dived deep into a large bush.

Cuckoo at Staines Moor
Grey Wagtail by the edge of the River Colne
And there it stayed, out of sight. This is the challenge of watching Ring Ouzels. You only have to so much as look at one and it will be off, flying as far away as possible from you. They are so wary. They trust nothing.

After a long search I thought that was it for the day. There was still plenty to see, however. A Grey Wagtail landed on the edge of the river, a handsome male, before it flew off. Better still, flying lazily and low across the Moor from the north east, a Red Kite (123) was on the look out for food. A wonderful sight.

A Red Kite drifts over Staines Moor
Having stood around in the cold wind and rain, I thought about leaving and returning the next morning when the weather was supposed to be much better. I decided to have one last circuit. I was joined by another birder, Clive, and while walking round I discovered two Red-legged Partridge rummaging in the bushes. A very unusual find for Staines.

The Ring Ouzel didn't show. I walked back across the bridge onto the southern section of the Moor and was just about to start the walk to the car when a black bird flew over my head and landed in a tree in front of me. It was the Ring Ouzel. Another remarkable turn of events, and another that often happens when I'm about to leave somewhere empty-handed.

I whistled Clive over and this time we got much better views of the bird perched up. It was clearly wary of us as we gradually moved closer and closer but it put up with us for quite a few minutes. Clive then left while I stayed on as the light began to fade.

A male Ring Ouzel - at long last
It was about 6.45pm by this stage, but I was savouring the moment. Just me and the male Ring Ouzel sharing the same space for a while. He staring at me and me staring at him. Great stuff. I tried to get a bit closer still, but this time after a brief hesitation he flew low and fast across the Moor and dropped on the deck. I walked around and discovered he was feeding by some anthills again.

The light was terrible, the wind had picked up and the rain was getting heavier. So after a couple of shaky record photos, he flew back up into a tree. I opted to leave him be until the morning when I plan to come back when the sun will be out (we live in hope).

As the wind blew stronger I walked back to the car, but not before watching a couple of Water Pipits beside the river. They looked really striking in their summer plumage – reminiscent of a couple of Wheatears in miniature.

The weather had been grim – I couldn't feel my fingers and my equipment was soaked – but Easter turned out fine in the end.

Sunday 1 April 2012


I hadn't been out for a wander for a few days and so took the opportunity to travel up to Staines this afternoon.

I could have walked the local patch but I knew from the reports that had come in, that the latest arrivals – Little Ringed Plover, Sand Martin and the odd Swallow – will be around for some time yet, so I went round the M25 in search of a Grey Plover that had been reported at the reservoir the day before. Curiously, I have yet to have a Grey Plover on my all-time Surrey list (my 21st century Surrey list, that is), so it would be a welcome addition.

Staines Reservoir is good for sea birds, ducks, grebes and waders. It's also excellent for flies. And this afternoon there were literally clouds of them along the causeway. I've never seen so many. You almost had to cut your way through them to see where you were going.

Flies as far as the eye can see at Staines Reservoir

Not everyone's cup of tea for a Sunday walk, obviously, but as these flies don't bite you can almost(!) forget they are there, apart from the odd one that ends up in your ear.

A Little Gull had also been reported, but amongst the mass of gulls on both basins I couldn't find one. In fact, I couldn't find much at first, apart from four very distant Redshank on the edge of the north basin.

Drake Scaup on the south basin

Eventually, I found the drake Scaup on the south basin – it was virtually right in front of me. A handsome duck that has been a resident here through the winter.

I was on my way back to the car when I gave the north basin one last scan, and there was the Grey Plover (112) on the west bank, not too far away from the causeway. It was a hesitant bird, nervously looking up at the sky – no doubt for predators. It must have felt vulnerable on its own apart from having a Redshank for company.

Grey Plover on the north basin (west bank)

Grey Plover with a Common Redshank on the north basin

Scanning the west bank of the south basin as I left, I discovered a Little Ringed Plover (113) by the edge of the water – another year tick.

I was hoping to find the odd Wheatear over at Staines Moor, but couldn't find one. They've been a bit scarce since we've had the good weather, so I can only hope that the northerly winds coming later this week might force a few to drop in on their journey.

All was fairly quiet, apart from plenty of SkylarkMeadow Pipit and Reed Bunting, plus five Common Buzzards circling high up and a Little Egret. The highlight on the Moor was the chattering sound of six Sand Martin (114) feeding overhead with a couple of Swallows (115).

It was reassuring to see them as it was a reminder that summer isn't that far away.