Wednesday, 13 December 2017

The birds in Spring 2017

Common Redstart, Priest Hill, April
Well I did put a lot of effort in locally, honest! For a change and to 'bird off piste' I adopted an area of abandoned playing fields between Banstead and Ewell known as Priest Hill. It has recently been handed over to the Surrey Wildlife Trust to manage, although there is not an awful lot that can be done bird-wise, save fence off areas from the hordes of dog-walkers and their canine friends in an attempt to protect the handful of Skylarks that breed there.

Almost daily visits throughout the spring did produce a few passage migrants, most notably Jack Snipe, Common Snipe, Ring Ouzel, Grasshopper Warbler, several Common Redstarts, plenty of Wheatears and a very healthy population of Common Whitethroats were in song throughout mid-April and into the summer, with the odd Lesser Whitethroat for good measure.

I neglected Canons Farm, but did manage to bump into a Ring Ouzel on May Day.

Northern Wheatear, Priest Hill, May
Common Whitethroat, Canons Farm, May

My near annual late Spring fortnight at Dungeness coincided with a string of good birds, including a superb adult Rose-coloured Starling, two Black-winged Stilts, two Bee-eaters, a Serin, a Black Kite and a Honey-buzzard, plus plenty of other stuff to trawl through and point lenses at (some of which came out quite well for me and my bridge camera). When Dungeness decides to play ball, it is a glorious place to be (note to Dungeness - please pull your finger out for the autumn!)

Rose-coloured Starling, Dungeness, June (I'll let you guess which it is)
One of the two Black-winged Stilts at the Midrips, June
Two adult Mediterranean Gulls, Dungeness, May. You can never get enough of them...
Corn Bunting, Dungeness, June. A poser.
Reed Bunting, Dungeness, June. Another poser.


Derek Faulkner said...

A lovely set of photographs and all making me feel so nostalgic for another Spring, how does anybody like Winter?

Steve Gale said...

Derek, I really miss the variety of flowers and near absence of butterflies at this time of year.