Sunday, 7 May 2017

5-7th May 2017

I drove back home on Friday and had a quick walk around Canons Farm, seeing my first 16 Swifts of the year at the patch. An early start on Saturday for ringing at Beddington with Koje and Josh B, which ended up being a reduced session due to the breeze but another successful one, with a few Reed Warblers and Whitethroats caught. The birding highlights of the morning were a quite confiding Wood Sandpiper on the Mitigation Scrape and the 2cy Iceland Gull from last week again. Good numbers of Swifts were moving through and Greenshank, Common Sandpiper, Little Ringed Plover and Lesser Whitethroat were also noted. On the walk to the site in the pre-dawn gloom, I managed a Beddington tick in the form of a Barn Owl. At home, the first four Swifts were on back.

Wood Sandpiper at Beddington
2cy Iceland Gull at Beddington

In the evening, I joined Phil W for a few hours at Bough Beech Reservoir in Kent, taking in the sound of three or four singing Nightingales and at least seven Garden Warblers! Why the latter species is evidently so common at the reservoir (as it is at other sites in the area such as Sevenoaks Wildfowl Reserve) but scarce in my local area, I'd love to know. A singing Cuckoo became the first one I've actually seen this year when it perched atop a dead tree and two shy drake Mandarins provided another highlight, along with a singing Lesser Whitethroat. I was greeted by four locally breeding Swifts screaming overhead when I got home, the first back.

Cuckoo at Bough Beech Reservoir

This morning, Paul G and I led the Banstead Arts Festival bird walk at Canons Farm and Banstead Woods, not finding a lot in the offputting conditions other than a Little Owl, two Red-legged Partridges, two Swifts and the odd Swallow but the participants were quite happy with that haul.