Saturday 18 March 2017

Staines Moor and Little Marlow GP - 16th & 17th March 2017

16 March

We made an early morning visit to the Moor in an effort to try to do some monitoring work with the Water Pipits, but were unsuccessful. Three Little Egret were present, six Sand Martin, and at least five Water Pipits. Numbers are often higher in March as migrants also pass through.

17 March

After a visit to Beaconsfield we dropped into Little Marlow, where upon arrival we were meet by two Peregrines, a male and female chasing each other around the site for a few minutes, the usual stream of Red Kites with the odd Buzzard as well, a little Ringed Plover on the spit and Sand Martins coming and going with 17 seen during our time there.

Little Ringed Plover

Group of Tufted Duck

 Nesting Cormorants

Couple of Red Kites over

Great Crested Grebe


The resident pair of Mute Swan were showing interest in nesting at a spot close to the path, attracting the attention of the single remaining Black Swan that was one of three introduced a few years back. This bird was quite aggressive  to other birds and has apparently become increasingly so over the last few weeks.

Cob and pen

Chobham Common - 15th March 2017

It was a delightful morning to be out on the common. We went to monitor Dartford Warblers and saw a total of 14, in the warm spring sunshine, two of which wore rings. We only used a couple of 2 panel nets and managed to catch two new birds, with several having whipped over the top. Even 'though the wind was quite low the birds had no trouble spotting the nets. A Robin was an unexpected bonus and additional species seen included Great Grey Shrike, Reed Bunting, Snipe, Buzzard, Red Kite and Stonechat (no less than 10). All this in a fairly confined area of the common, which suggests the Dartford Warbler population is extremely buoyant at present.

Dartford Warbler on gorse

Total: 3

Robin - 1
Dartford Warbler - 2

Necessary permission and permits to capture birds at this site and use tape lures for Dartford Warbler are held.

North Norfolk 10th & 11th March 2017


A run up to Norfolk started with disappointment at Cockley Cley as the Great Grey Shrike failed to put in an appearance until well after we had given up looking and moved on as our time was restricted as we had to be elsewhere before midday. We did have a singing Wood Lark though, and there was a movement of Finches and Thrushes, with Brambling and Fieldfare over. The Pallid Harrier did not appear to be putting in an appearance at New Holkham so we quickly moved on.

It was early afternoon before we'd taken care of non birding related matters and we arrived at Holkham. Initially we walked up to the hide over the fresh marsh, which still held quite a few Pink-foot and White-fronted Geese. A Cetti's was singing out in the middle of the marsh, with the usual Marsh Harriers over the marsh, with Red Kite and Buzzard over Holkham Park. Great White Egret and Spoonbill were back with two of the former and a single of the latter seen, which was colour ringed, alas with one of the colours not being readily identifiable. A walk along the beach into the middle of the bay, as often is the case in March found the sea relatively quiet with just a few Common Scoter and Red-breasted Mergansers present, finishing off late afternoon a small group of ten Shore Larks that were still present at the eastern end of the bay.

Mixed Goose flock

White-fronted Geese

Holkham Bay and Dunes



Having spent the night at Caley Hall, Old Hunstanton, we first of all dropped into Holme. Again the sea was fairly quiet with just three Eider, six Red-breasted Mergansers and 13 Long-tailed Duck present. Passerine movement was limited, although four Stonechat were present suggesting some movement of this species and a few Pink-footed Goose went over the marsh.

A quick look at Thornham failed to produce any Twite, and a visit to Thornham Deli just reiterated just how Norfolk has changed with a small jar of honey costing £11 and a loaf of fancy bread £2.50. 

Curlew at Thornham

We then finished off with a visit to Titchwell which produced the usual nice mix of waders, with a couple of Ruff present, but we did not come across the Little Ringed Plover that was present earlier in the day. The resident population of Red-crested Pochards seems to be growing with six males and two females seen. The sea again was still fairly quiet with only seven Red-breasted Mergansers, two nice groups of Long-tailed Ducks, totalling 22, mostly splendid males and a group of Scoters, that contained (mostly) a number of Velvet Scoters, which were slightly too far out in a slightly misty haze to be sure of their identity except when flapping their wings showing the white panel in the wing. 

Red-crested Pochard, male & female

Common Gull on Titchwell beach, one of quite a few which
were present moving north.

Male Northern Shoveler

Male Eurasian Teal

Monday 6 March 2017

Truss's Island, Thames at Windsor, Bury Lake & Ruislip Lido - 4th March 2017

The weather has been against us, what with wind and rain ringing has been impossible at our sites for quite a while now. We have been out a couple of times looking for metal ringed birds and today we decided to do some local sites where we could collect Darvic and metal rings on Mute Swans. We started at Truss's Island where there are many regular Darvic ringed sans and also recorded some BTO metal rings, taking particular efforts with the birds with two metal rings having been caught for swan upping.

The result of our efforts was close to 100 records.

We also managed to catch up an unringed swan with fishing line wrapped around one foot. The leg was swollen with the line digging in quite severely. The bird was released once the line had been removed.

 Truss's Island Staines

It took several photos of the upside down metal ring on this Black-headed Gull but the full number was recorded eventually.

EX42797 Ruislip Lido

Total: 0 (95)

Mute Swan - 0 (92)
Canada Goose - 0 (2)
Black-headed Gull - 0 (1)