Sunday, October 30, 2011

Common Gull

After a wonderfull morning shopping at Morrison's ( insert sarcastic face), I headed out to my local patch for an hour. At Papercourt Lake there was a nice surprise for me: Common Gull! This individual was mixed in with some Black-headed Gulls, though they didn't seem to be too friendly; the BLHGU occasionally flying up and stooping at this bird. After a few minutes the COMGU flew around the lake and settled away from the bullying. New patch bird for me!

I then took a drive down Tannery Lane to the river. Here there were a few more thrushes around with a group of 5 Mistle Thrush on the powerlines and Fieldfares and Redwings flying over. I did manage one stringy shot of a Fieldfare but hope to get better looks this winter. Other species of interest were; Little Owl, Kestrel, Siskin, Stonechat and Great Spotted Woodpecker.


White Cliffs of Dover

I'm not going to waffle on too much in this post as the photos say it all. Lori, Nolan and I decided on a road trip and though Stonehenge was a great contender, we all opted for the White Cliffs of Dover. Though I have seen them from the ferry on a few occasions, I had never walked over them. Vera Lynn.

We arrived in Dover at about 8:30am; two hour drive from Woking. After locating the visitor centre and the start of our trail, we back tracked to Dover town for a nice a English breakfast before starting our hike. The weather forecast was good but the morning was a little foggy, so we killed some time checking out the fields along the way. Here we found a few good birds including big flocks of Goldfinch, Siskin and Linnet, Red-legged Partridge, Golden Plover, Skylark, Kestrel and a Goshawk! 

Herring Gull

Once the weather improved we started our walk, making our way down the trails to the South Foreland Lighthouse. En-route we noticed a few good birds including Herring Gull, Great Black-backed Gull, Wheatear, Yellowhammer, Pied Wagtail and Common Tern.

Dover Castle

South Foreland Lighthouse


Sunday, October 23, 2011

Doing the rounds


Today I checked my local patch starting at Tannery lane in Send. Here I added my first of three year birds today: Lesser Redpoll. A flock of 14 individuals flew over the river making a quick stop on some alders before flying off. The two Stonechats were still in the same area, where I had found them a few weeks ago. A single Skylark, Kestrel and Mistle Thrush made this a worthwhile stop. At Papercourt Lake there was nice flock of Siskin teasing me from the tree tops, a Great Black-backed Gull and 7 flyover Fieldfares brought my patch list up to 72 species.

Little Grebe

No new duck species at the lake, which is what I am really checking for though there were a few more Pochard which is encouraging. My final stop was at Pyrford Weir where I followed the river down to Walsham Weir.

Newark Lock

Newark Priory from river

Walsham Weir

Newark Priory from road

I had a wonderful time at Walsham Weir as I watched a pair of Grey Wagtail chasing each other around the weir pool for half hour. On my way out I had Little Owl calling at Newark Lock. Great morning!
Grey Wagtail

Sunday, October 9, 2011

Chats in my patch!

Egyptian Goose

In between chores and buying a car this weekend, I did manage to bird my local area on both mornings. On Saturday I headed down to Papercourt Lake in Send. There was plenty to keep busy with lots of birds in the hedgerows and a good assortment of ducks and grebes on the water to go through. The small pond next to Papercourt (not sure of the name) had a pair of Mandarin Duck, Little Grebe, Tufted Duck, Pochard, Coot, Moorhen, and two Gray Wagtails. On the main lake there were more Tufted Duck, Mute Swan, Black-headed Gulls and Egyptian Goose. The hedges and fields around the lake were filled with tit flocks including Great Tit, Blue Tit and Long-tailed Tit. Other species included Goldcrest, Chiffchaff, Chaffinch, Greenfinch, Goldfinch. Treecreeper and Siskin were also present, both new species for my local patch.

Great Tit

There was a definite push of thrushes, with many Blackbird and Song Thrush feeding up on berries. On Saturday night Lori and I headed over to Ockham for a beer at the Black Swan pub and en-route had a Little Owl fly across the road in front of us and while at the pub we heard another calling from an old oak. A good night. 


On Sunday morning I did another loop around Papercourt Lake then made a stop on Tannery Lane next to the crack pulverising mill. I crossed the canal and river and made my way along the toe path. It was here that I added another species to my local patch list: Stonechat! Two to be exact! Though they are regular at local heathland, I was very happy to find these on migration in my area. Total species for the weekend was 47.


Sunday, October 2, 2011


Today Lori and I took a quick trip out to Staines Reservoirs. This was Lori's first visit, so I was sure there would be some good birds for us to see. On arrival we spotted two Black-necked Grebe on the south reservoir, a new U.K. bird for Lori. With a recent report of a Shag we began to scan through all of the cormorants. With no real contenders for this rarer bird we continued on where we met with some other birders. One chap from Woking called Bob had seen the shag earlier in the morning but since then it had disappeared. We chatted for a while, enjoying the antics of a Hobby over the south reservoir and getting our first look a Goldeneye. Lori and I continued along the footpath and just as we decided to turn around we spotted the Shag! The initial feel was the bird was smaller, daintier with a smaller-slender bill that was yellowish in colour. The peaked crown also was apparent. Having said that, I did ask the other birders for there opinion. They all agreed with the identification and as luck would have it the bird flew directly in front us and out to the tern rafts. That was great as you then got a really good comparison of size and shape with both species; Cormorants and Shag.