Monday, 25 January 2021

Comeback tit - 3km (Day 4)

The two inches of snow that fell in the Banstead area yesterday was still in place, with sub-zero temperatures overnight giving it all a hard crust, the roads and pavements being slippery as a further result. After the big influx of Skylarks at Canons Farm as a result of the weather, I returned to monitor their number - still 120 present, but down from yesterday’s 200. They were feeding on a couple of the western-most fields along with 150+ Linnets. When they all took to flight, the flurry of clean whites and buffs in such dazzling light, under lit by the reflecting snow, was dazzling.

Adjacent to the farm, on the eastern flank, is Banstead Woods. I spent an hour trying to kick up a Woodcock (in which I failed), but a great success was locating a single Marsh Tit, my first here for several years. When I used to visit these woods from the late-70s this species was ‘a given’, 2-3 individuals easily picked up within just a few minutes. Alas, over the last 10-15 years it has been a difficult bird to find here,  and in the past five years has even been considered as having possibly gone.

Also seen were 3 Red Kites, 3 Common Buzzards, a Barn Owl and 8 Lesser Redpoll.

2 comments:

Gibster said...

You're certainly doing well with the Barn Owl(s), smooth camera work too :) I well remember finding Marsh Tits on Epsom and Ashtead Commons back in the day, and Willow Tits before that. I think I had Marsh Tits on Bookham too, certainly they were a given in Bushy Park. Lesser-spotted Woodpecker was a similarly 'expected' species at all of those sites, plus at the Hogsmill at Ewell. No sign of the regular Barn Owl here, it must have moved on or died I guess (can usually see pellets beneath it's chosen hole in a cliff). I have booted up a couple of Woodcock this week though, so it's not all doom and gloom!

Steve Gale said...

Seth, Barn Owls have been wintering (and sometimes breed) at CF for a few years now - in some winters the bird(s) have not left their roost to hunt until well after dark, but so far this year mid-afternoon seems to be the norm. Lesser Spot - rare fodder here now.