Monday, 16 April 2012

Why Ouzels at Canons?

Last Friday a single Ring Ouzel was found at Canons Farm in Surrey. On Saturday morning it was joined by a second bird. Yesterday there were no fewer than four of them to be seen throughout the day. It is unlikely that all four had been present since Friday as the very open area had been birded heavily on all three days. I think it's likely that the additional birds were called down by the vocal nature of this species. I could hear a 'chack' from several hundred meters distance. How many others flew overhead and did not stop?

Other well-birded local sites, such as Beddington and Holmethorpe do not regularly get Ring Ouzels. In the fledgling history of birding at Canons Farm it seems likely that a small spring passage may be the norm. There are other inland sites that seem to attract this species - Blow's Down in Bedfordshire springs to mind. If so, why? Fly lines? Magnetic fields? I'd love to know.


Lee Dingain said...

An interesting question. Also fairly regular at Staines Moor, which doesn't have anywhere near the same amount of observer coverage. Last year I had one bird and then two later the same day in the same spot.

Steve Gale said...

Hi Lee, Your comment about 'same spot' reminds me of a small bush at Holmethorpe that had a male Common Redstart on the same date on two consecutive years - they are barely annual there. Same bird?

Factor said...

A theory doing the local rounds (well, me and one other bloke) is that these migrants fly from ridge to ridge and therefore drop in at high points like Canons and miss out Holmethorpe - which is in a valley. Also the fields at the farm must be tempting at the moment for the Ring Ouzels with all those potential worms waiting to be eaten. There is also enough cover for them, if they need it. Also, once they find a decent spot, they often migrate to the same place each year en route to their breeding grounds. Or so they tell me.