Friday, 25 November 2016
All's Ewell that ends Ewell
A brisk 15 minute walk from the front door sees me stepping onto Surrey Wildlife Trust's Priest Hill Reserve - all ex-farmland, then municipal playing fields, now reverting to scrubby grassland. It is quite high (for Surrey) and although not an obvious ornithological hot-spot, it does turn up a fair selection of passerine passage migrants. Today's surprise was a flock of four Reed Buntings (all females, one above). Locally, this is pretty amazing stuff. Nearby were a male and two female Stonechats, a species which is a regular passage migrant and winter visitor to this reserve. I always check them for an accompanying Dartford Warbler, but no luck again today.
A further twenty minutes on finds me at the River Hogsmill in Ewell Village, a small watercourse that I could just about jump over (given a long run-up and my legs and lungs of 40 years ago). The three species that are almost a given at this time of year were present and correct - Little Egret, Kingfisher and Grey Wagtail (below). I may not have the coast nearby, but there is plenty to look at given a bit of effort.