When Summer meets Winter
As I needed to be close to home today I embarked on a day-long 'on-off' sky watch. On the whole it was disappointing, with very few birds passing overhead, hirundines at barely a trickle, with the odd Chaffinch and Meadow Pipit thrown in to punctuate the quiet. However, the coming of winter was encapsulated by two Redwing (the autumn's first) that flew west early on and a further four landed in a neighbouring garden early in the evening. These are quite early, my 'firsts' are normally not until early October. It was interesting to see that there was a sprinkle of sightings of this fine thrush across the county today. Another intriguing aspect of today was a steady passage of Stock Doves, with at least 100 heading south. These are likely to be local birds moving between feeding sites rather than migrants, although the odd flock was quite high and purposeful. Over the past five years this species has become much commoner in 'my' part of Surrey, with Canons Farm, Priest Hill and Epsom and Walton Downs playing host to flocks of hundreds.