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Saturday, 12 November 2016

Back in Surrey

I've said it before and failed but once again I'm going to give online logkeeping a go and try to keep it up this time! I've spent the last eight months as Assistant Warden at Dungeness, which was a valuable experience, and I'm now enjoying reacquainting with my local patches back in Surrey.

On Wednesday, I joined Christian C, Roger B and Kevin G on a gloomy morning in the hide at Beddington Farmlands. This winter will be the last that the landfill operates so an eye was kept on the larids, producing two first-winter Caspian Gulls, one of which was particularly striking. Once the rain gave in mid-morning, Christian and I headed off for a walk around the mound, where a soft grating call alerted us to the presence of a Dartford Warbler, which we soon tracked down.

Dartford Warbler, Beddington

Thursday saw me eagerly return to Canons Farm, where I convened with Paul G and Ian J and also covered parts of Banstead Woods. A heard-only Reed Bunting overhead was quite a surprise and other decent patch birds included two Stonechats, a Cormorant and a Grey Heron. I went out again at dusk, and was glad I did as I heard six Little Owls, a Tawny Owl and a Barn Owl.

Common Buzzard, Canons Farm

A bitter wind did not stop a trip to north Kent with Josh B today being a good laugh. We started at Leysdown-on-Sea, where a single adult Mediterranean Gull was the only bird of any note before moving on to Shell Ness, failing to locate anything unusual but enjoying a panoply of typical waders and wildfowl. After a pit stop, we called by at Oare Marshes, where we only had time for a fleeting check of the East Flood but managed to see a Little Stint and 14 Ruff, but best of all was a close encounter with a ringtail Hen Harrier as it quartered the marsh.

Adult Mediterranean Gull with Black-headed Gulls, Leysdown-on-Sea
Turnstones and and Grey Plover, Shell Ness
Common Seal, Shell Ness
Hen Harrier, Oare Marshes

Ruff and Little Stint with Teal and Shoveler, Oare Marshes