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Monday, 13 March 2017

Canons Farm and Banstead Woods, 13th March 2017

I started the morning with a walk around Banstead Woods, beginning to plot breeding territories over there. The sound of five freshly-arrived chiffing Chiffchaffs lifted the spirits while two Siskins and nine redpolls lent a bit of overall 'value'. Other notables included Tawny Owl, Canada Goose and Pied/White Wagtail.

The light north-westerly and blue skies seemed to hold promise so I headed over to the farm for a skywatch. I find it very difficult to just stay in one place but I was reminded of the sense in occasionally doing so when I heard a call I'm more familiar with from the coast, a Mediterranean Gull! Last year, one Dungeness birder put it quite aptly as 'like an old spinster finding a handsome young man in her bed'. It sounded high up and after quickly swivelling around I got onto a high-flying flock of Black-headed Gulls. Sure enough, there were two lovely adult Meds with them as they cruised north! The third record for the site, I was elated to have finally bagged a patch rarity for my recent efforts. I opted to stick with watching them, after a panicked reach for the camera led to confirmation of a local rarity being painfully thwarted the other day.

There were quite a few other gulls on the move, too, including five Lesser Black-backeds, while quite a few Common Buzzards, at least 14, took the chance to stretch their wings. A small number of Fieldfares and Redwings were around, but a flock of 120 Linnets was nice to see, and six migrant Meadow Pipits flew around. Two Yellowhammers in song included a newly vocal male.