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.

Sunday 14 April 2013


So the spring migration has really got under way at last. Two out the three latest walks have included a couple of enjoyable visits to the local patch at Holmethorpe where I saw plenty of Willow Warblers, Chiffchaff, a Common Sandpiper asleep on the small island at Spyne Mere, 15 or so Sand Martin, a few Swallow and a House Martin. Strangley, still no Blackcap.

The one species I was really pleased to catch up with, however, was a flock of 12 Lesser Redpolls. For some reason I had yet to see even one this year. They are smashing little birds, especially as they can develop a nice red breast at this time of year. Some were feeding on the ground before joining the rest of the flock in a small tree, and then they were off, the distinctive buzzing call disappearing as they went.

A couple of well-camouflaged Lesser Redpoll at Holmethorpe
The Surrey list is coming along – now on 130 – with only a handful of birds not on it as yet. One I doubt I will connect with is a Sandwich Tern. They've been flying through during the past week – seven were seen at Staines Reservoir on Friday to go with a couple at Tice's Meadow and one over Beddington – but with these Terns it's a case of being in the right location at the right time, otherwise you will probably miss your chance as they never hang around long before moving on.

I went to Staines on Saturday morning, where I met up with Bob Warden. It was a good morning with plenty of decent birds around – the Long-tailed Duck and Black-necked Grebe were still on the south basin, along with a Slavonian Grebe. On the west bank of the north basin were two Black-tailed Godwits that flew off at about 9.45am.

Two Black-tailed Godwits at Staines Reservoir
A Common Tern feeding on the north basin

A drake Garganey at the London Wetland Centre
I also heard a Curlew go over but couldn't see it, and my first Common Tern arrived soon after, feeding on both basins.

Predictably no Sandwich Tern, so at about midday Bob and I decided to travel to Barnes to the London Wetland Centre where a drake Garganey eventually showed well, as well as a White Wagtail and a couple of Redshank.

A productive day then, but a frenzy of new arrivals is likely this next week. More than 15 Willow Warbler were seen at Holmethorpe this morning together with the first Common Whitethroat of the year (a week later than usual). Three Redstart arrived at Thursley Common, two male Ring Ouzel were seen Stanwell Moor, a Cuckoo dropped in at Canons Farm and a couple of singing Nightingale were heard at Capel.

I have a feeling the next few weeks are going to be spectacular. On the wish list? Sandwich Tern obviously, but a Black Redstart, a local Common Restart, Pied Flycatcher or an Osprey flying over when I happen to be looking skywards would be up there. I just hope I'm in the right place at the right time – at least on some occasions...

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