Friday, 2 November 2018
The bit is firmly between my teeth to find the 'best' place to conduct local visible migration watching. There are places that have proved themselves to be worthwhile in this department - the back garden, Epsom Downs, Canons Farm, Banstead Downs and Priest Hill to name a few - but I am yet to find one that comes up with the birds time and again. But whisper it, I may have found one...
I have birded at Mogador a number of times over the past few years and it is my sort of place, being neglected, forgotten and under-watched (if watched at all). In fact, just like Canons Farm used to be when I first set foot on it (with a respectful nod towards John Peacock who had been patrolling the fields in previous years). Magador has a bit of everything - big skies (image above), rough grassland, pasture, arable, scrub and fence lines. I have seen Whinchat, Wheatear, Stonechat, Spotted Flycatcher and Crossbill here, plus big flocks of winter thrushes and all this on only a handful of visits.
After spending the first hour of daylight at home in the garden, (which produced a tidy 239 Chaffinch, 2 Brambling and 43 Redwing west), I drove the 15 minutes to Mogador. It was at once obvious that there was movement going on, all birds moving west to south-west, with 300 Starling, 157 Fieldfare, 23 Redwing and 6 Skylark. Also milling around were 5 Common Buzzard, a Red Kite, 40 Meadow Pipit, 2 Raven and 2 Yellowhammer. The movement packed up by 09.30hrs which left me wondering what the first three hours of daylight might have delivered. This place is worth further investigation, something that I have thought for some time.
After a quick look on Banstead Heath (more thrushes, 2 Raven and a Redpoll) and a quiet look on Colley Hill (below) I left with thoughts about next year, and the consideration of putting in a concerted effort at Mogador.