Monday, 15 December 2014

Meet the 2015 patch

The 2015 Surrey v Northumberland local patch dust-up took an unexpected twist over the weekend when our projected baseline figures were revised. Mine has been downgraded to 90 and Stewart's to 140. This is very generous of him! My own 'targets' remain the same - Birds 120, Plants 600, Moths 450 and Butterflies 36.

The map to the left shows my study area for the year. It can be broken down into the following 'regions':

EWELL A very modest river (you could just about jump across it) with a collection of small ponds and streams. Two SWT reserves, Howell Hill (excellent for orchids and Small Blue) and Priest Hill (good for fences and lack of access)

BANSTEAD DOWNS Chalk downland with an odd flora - very few orchids but some screaming rarities such as Early Gentian and Broad-leaved Cudweed. Chalkhill and Small Blue colonies. Firecrests winter.

CANONS FARM/BANSTEAD WOODS Fairly self explanatory, impoverished flora but here there is the chance of surprise passage migrant birds. Little Owl, Hobby, Buzzard and Yellowhammer all breed. Purple Emperor, Silver-washed and Dark Green Fritillary all present and correct.

PARK DOWN/CHIPSTEAD BOTTOM Chalk downland with rare flora (Greater Yellow-rattle, Ground Pine and Cut-leaved Germander the stand-outs) plus Chalkhill Blue, Silver-spotted Skipper and Brown Hairstreak.

EPSOM/WALTON DOWNS  A mix of interesting flora (Round-headed Rampion, Bastard Toadflax) and passage migrant birds.

BANSTEAD/WALTON HEATH Areas that I don't know that well to be honest, even though they are close. Some small bits of remnant heathland apparently harbour a few species of interest. Time to find out more...

REIGATE/COLLEY HILL Great views, hundreds of dog walkers but the chance of a bit of viz-mig, plus Man Orchid, Meadow Clary and Silver-spotted Skipper.

NORK, BANSTEAD Where I live, run a moth trap and hope to jam into the odd fly-by surprise.

8 comments:

  1. Looks like quite a big area Steve, loads - a - stuff to be found there I bet!

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  2. Hi Warren. I can walk from the north border to the south border in under 2 hours and from east to west in under an hour. That's without stopping though...

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  3. I'm pleased you didnt suggest a butterfly-off! Here's to a big surprise for you in 2015...er...a Woodchat would be nice?

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    1. A Woodchat would be more than nice Stewart. In fact, any shrike would do.

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  4. Good luck on your wanderings & if you fancy some company give me a shout ..if you find a shrike lets hope its Lesser Grey ! those of us of a certain age dont or shouldnt need Woodchat.

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    1. Thanks Geoff, an extra pair of eyes would be welcome. I've only seen Great Grey in the study area before, so I wouldn't say no to any shrike species. In fact I'd lay the red carpet out for them!

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  5. ..."good for fences and lack of access" Pahahahahahahahahahaha!!!!

    Actually, I think the reserve looks very good for chats and maybe Ring Ouzel in autumn. My betting for a good bird there would be Curlew or Caspo on the football fields, Wryneck on the deck, Long-eared Owl in the thorn scrub and your mega for ten being Ring-billed Gull, also on the playing fields. Not that I need Ringo for Surrey...

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    1. I'm unfairly unkind to the reserve Seth. It has potential. I reckon a shrike...

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