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Friday, 4 May 2012

Unplanned trip

Absolutely mind blowing

For the first time since I started college last September, today I visited Canons Farm in the middle of the day on a Friday. With Yellow Wagtails on the deck and Wheatears around it seemed there might be something else of interest lurking about. I spent a bit of time scanning with Nigel Sluman then Roy arrived and within fifteen to twenty minutes he gave the shout 'Waders! They look like snipe! No they're Golden Plovers! Yes, Golden Plovers'. I got the camera on them and fired off a series of shots (see above), completely oblivious to what they really were. After a while I thought I'd have a look with the bins and as soon as I did I realsed these were no Golden Plovers, they were Dotterel!!!!!!!!!!! Almost immediately afterwards, they seemed to drop down in Heathside Field and we anxiously headed over there... yes there were fifteen Dotterel on the deck - OH MY GOD!!! A bird of pure fantasy at the patch that had come true, fifteen times at once and with superb style.

News was quickly let out and probably fifty observers connected throughout the afternoon and evening. It was great to see lots of familar faces again plus several new ones and the rarity of having some very well known London/Surrey birders on the patch. We've had several good London/Surrey birds at Canons Farm over the last couple of years but this is the first true MEGA and certainly the all time highlight so far. The last Surrey record was in 1884 and the last in the London area since 1994. This is also the largest flock ever seen in Surrey and is a very difficult bird in the south east in general. I'm still shell shocked! Days like these make all the hours and hours of waiting and scanning worthwhile.

Certainly overshadowed the singing male Lesser Whitethroat I had in the morning; a scarce bird at CFBW with about half a dozen records last year (less than Grasshopper Warbler!)

Roy very happy

Some of the crowd

I've been up to a few other bits over the last week, too, which I'll post about soon

See Johnny's blog for a good write up and pics and cfbwbirds for more pics